Living Experiments: Beauvoir, Freedom, and Science

Phaenex: Journal of Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture 10 (2015)
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Abstract

In this paper, I argue for reading Simone de Beauvoir’s call, in The Ethics of Ambiguity, to assume our ambiguity as a call to live experimentally. This paper has three mutually reliant strands of analysis: first, I draw attention to and catalogue some instances of Beauvoir’s use of scientific example; second, I derive, from a close and intertwined reading of those examples, implications about ambiguous subjectivity; in order to, third, suggest that those implications lead to the idea that the demand to assume our ambiguity can be read as a demand to take up an experimental ethos. I show that such an ethos is predicated on making claims about a world that always escapes us, in which freedom is concretely engaged as the capacity to find and make meaning.

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Anna E. Mudde
University of Regina

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