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Bad Faith

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bad_faith.jpg

“Shrewsbury – bad faith” by Robby Garbet (formerly at Flickr)

Bad Faith (French, mauvaise foi) is a social-psychological and philosophical idea conceived by Jean-Paul Sarte where one apparently ignores the possibility of actively choosing one’s commitments. Instead, one becomes a passive pawn for external forces, or merely avoids making a decision about what to commit to.

An example could, perhaps, be the Nazi guard who arbitrarily executes ordinary people for Adolf Hitler despite inner moral attitudes decrying this behavior.

The idea of bad faith is predicated on the assumption of a “gap of nothingness.”

The “gap of nothingness” concept suggests that human beings are not mere stimulus-response machines (à la behaviorism) but possess the psychological freedom needed to make responsible decisions in response to incoming stimuli. The illustration often given in undergraduate humanities courses, rightly or wrongly, is that animals will eat whenever hungry, whereas human beings usually delay eating until a personally or socially appropriate time.

bookcrazy adds:

I think Sartre has a very complex connotation to the term [bad faith]. Sometimes wide, sometimes narrow. Very closely related to the concept of authenticity, he has used the term to show the shackles that man chooses despite the knowledge of freedom, at least deep within. » See in context

More examples of bad faith can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_faith_%28existentialism%29

Related posts » Existentialism, Fromm, Erich

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Author: Earthpages.ca

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2 thoughts on “Bad Faith

  1. I think Sartre has a very complex connotation to the term. Sometimes wide, sometimes narrow. Very closely related to the concept of authenticity, he has used the term to show the shackles that man chooses despite the knowledge of freedom, at least deep within.

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