Simone de Beauvoir's Existentialist Ontology

Philosophy Today 43 (3):266-271 (1999)
Kristana Arp
Long Island University, C.W. Post
The ancient Athenians believed that their forebears sprang directly from the earth rather than being created by gods or born of human parents. In some version of the myth, the ancestor was depicted as having a man's form above the waist and a snake's form below: "Having emerged from the earth, he still in part resembled the creature that slips to and fro between the upper and lower worlds."'1 At the beginning of her 1947 work, The Ethics of Ambiguity, Simone de Beauvoir asserts that there is a fundamental ambiguity to human life. According to her, every human, like the chthonic ancestor of the Athenians, exists at the same time in two realms: "he is still part of the world of which he is conscious."2 Rooted as they are in the earth, humans can transcend their material origin in thought but they can never escape it.
Keywords de Beauvoir, Simone  Existentialism  Ontology
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DOI philtoday199943316
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