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For a existentialist Ethics: The Moral of Ambiguity in Simone de Beauvoir's philosophical project (1944 to 1949)

Grant number: 19/26591-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2021
Effective date (End): May 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Luiz Damon Santos Moutinho
Grantee:Lucas Joaquim da Motta
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


It is a question of analyzing the moral of ambiguity in the works Phyrrus et Cineas (1944), For a moral of ambiguity (1947) and The Second sex (1949), written by Simone de Beauvoir. In these essays, the philosopher demonstrates the importance of moral contact between individual consciousnesses and how an action can be defined or not as ethics.Furthermore, Beauvoir investigates how a situation can become oppressive or, arbitrarily, autonomous, due to the intersubjective relationship of singular freedoms. These questions, far from being resolved, are sustained by the ambiguity of the human condition, a posture in which the author defends in order to promote the true sense of freedom, moving away fromcertain morals, especially kantian and hegelian morals, which are inaugurated throughuniversal assumptions. Thus, in her 1944 and 1947 essays, Beauvoir evokes the austerity of a possible existentialist morality that privileges existence - as a failing condition of being - by means of a creative freedom whose unfolding aims at a moral unfolding. However, in the 1949 essay, existentialist morality no longer appears as a possibility, but as a well-founded thesis to investigate the moral situation of humanity. Therefore, this suggests that there was a continuation of the author's moral theses, foreseen in her first books and approached, consecutively, in the Second Sex. In general, in terms of the philosopher herself, "a moral of ambiguity will be a moral that refuses to deny a priori that separate existences can at the sametime be connected among themselves and that their unique freedoms can forge laws valid forall. Under these conditions, the scope of this research is twofold: (I) to expound Simone deBeauvoir's first philosophical theses, outlining a possible way for the reader to arrive at what she calls the moral of ambiguity; (II) to analyze how this moral can be understood in the three works in question, intersecting their main characteristics to demonstrate that, by hypothesis, no one is born moral, becomes moral.

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