French Existentialism Philosophers: Gabriel Marcel and Simone de Beauvoir

Topics: Existentialism, Simone de Beauvoir, Søren Kierkegaard Pages: 5 (1623 words) Published: February 20, 2013
Skylar Hogan
French Existentialism
Final Assignment

Part A: Gabriel Marcel’s Philosophy on Problem and Mystery Part B: Simone De Beauvoir's Philosophy on why there is a moral obligation to overcome oppression (our own and that of others) and why is an existentialist ethics an ethics of freedom

Part A:
Gabriel Marcel is known to be one of the more religious philosophers who was a French Existentialist. He was a committed Catholic Philosopher and he believed that by being connected to others he will be connected to god. He believed that philosophy should be about hope and wanted to portray the more positive aspects of human characteristics through his writings and thoughts. Marcel has a belief that problems and mysteries were two separate ideas where problems exist outside and apart from ourselves and mysteries were unsolved queries that were more internal to one’s self. For example determining what a body is, is a problem and determining what my body is, is a mystery. He believes that we can use primary and secondary reflections in order to seek a solution to the problem or mystery being faced with. Primary reflections use analytical skills to separate the thinker from the problematic object in order to find a resolution. Separating the thinker from the problem is important in order to effectively reflect and create intellectual and moral means to a solution. Primary reflections use means of abstracting data and using it in order to manipulate the world and deal with the problem that is not always black and white or a right or wrong answer. Primary reflection approaches problems from an objective standpoint where the thinker is separate from the problem while the secondary reflection begins with the experience of existence within the problem and is used with reflection of a mystery. The secondary reflection is open to contemplation by looking at it as a unique presence. The existence within the world is not a problem that needs to be solved because humans and their bodies are intrinsically related to the world and they are in relation to each other, not objects or problems that can be manipulated. Marcel believed that Philosophy is a part of reflecting on a mystery and the mystery requires participation of the person reflecting because it is an experience of presence itself. A mystery involves you as an intrinsical part of the question which is a question of yourself and requires a solution by secondary reflection. A question becomes a mystery when it takes itself into the subject. Marcel believes that humans are increasingly becoming defined by their problems which cause alienation of themselves from themselves and also causing separation from others. The questions of “being” and humans are mysteries within the Marcel philosophies. When something is recognized as “not being” it cannot be a mystery. As humans we have a need for “being” with “ontological exigence” which consumes “being” upsurges of joy, happiness, hopefulness, expectations and desires. “Being” as a human means existing and experiencing the world and the subjects within it. Having something means exercising power over that thing by possession and rights to those possessions. By having rights over a possession can also enables that person to have the ability of disposal of that subject as well. Having something is different from experiencing that thing, for example having a body is different form experiencing your body because you cannot rid yourself of your body without ceasing to be. Life is not identical to a person’s “being” because “being” is the whole self which is more than life and it is what a person aspires to be. Humans can only evoke the fullness of “being” by engaging with others and coming together as a community. Marcel promotes the idea of living I-Thou which opens up and enhances a person’s “being” which God being the ultimate Thou. The I-Thou idea requires a person to be open to the “being” of others...
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