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The Theme Of Conversion In Sartre's Early Ethics

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Chapter Summary

In Being and Nothingness (1943), Sartre announced that he would devote a future work to ethics, taking up questions that follow on from ontology but go beyond it. This chapter considers Sartre's approach to ethics as found in the Notebooks for an Ethics, with particular reference to the theme of ethical conversion in this source. In the closing pages of Being and Nothingness, Sartre announced that he would devote a future work to ethics in which he would take up questions that follow on from his account of phenomenological ontology. The topic of conversion, especially sudden conversion, interested Sartre. In the Sartrean hierarchy of values, freedom appears 'like a light above the plane of generosity'. It stands out because it defines what it is to be a conscious being in the world and is the irreducible ground of meaning and value.

Keywords: Being and Nothingness; Sartre's early ethics; Sartrean project



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