The Idea of God in Sartre's Philosophy
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Pointing to the difference between 'en-soi' and 'pour-soi' the author holds that although Sartre was a staunch atheist in all he has written, he was also a consistent anti-materialist. For Sartre we are material only insofar as we have to exist as a physical 'en-soi'. Other than that we have a moral and intellectual obligation to identify with 'pour-soi'. By adopting this distinction Sartre can retain his conception of human condition as undetermined and contingent. If he chose the materialist position, he would have to admit that we are fully determined by biological instincts and all efforts to establish human responsibility and 'l'engagement' would be doomed to failure. At the same time, however, Sartre passes by an opportunity to offer the human being a guidance for the transition from 'en-soi' to 'en-so', leaving this process basically in the hands of weak and frail individuals. This may be required by his conception of human responsibility, but irrespective of its motivation, his conception leaves man confused and disoriented. We are not prepared to live in a world without God, a world that is, in the author's own words 'like a piece of dead wood, or a dried bone or an empty shell'.
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