Hegelian Master-Slave dialectic:
Moment when consciousness reaches self-consciousness. When there is a self,
and the self contributes to objective knowledge.
Consciousness faces a world that is other than itself, but when it realizes that the
inner nature, the objective nature of things that is revealed by science is actually
its own work, it realizes that it's not just other and itself. It is both other and itself.
Early self-consciousness is aware that there is a difference between self and other,
that there is a gap that it wants to close. It only achieves its satisfaction in closing
this gap. It does this by being recognized for what it truly is: freedom. This must
be recognized by another. We need another to be recognized as free.
You can only have a sense of self when there is another being against which you
can contrast yourself. This other is always perceived as a threat. Self-
consciousness is therefore an entirely social fact. This recognition is filled with
conflict. The other is also perceived as an object, which we want to control and
dominate in order to assert our freedom.
I experience myself as a consciousness that wants to control and dominate
everything that is exterior to me. Ultimately we have a desire to be God, to be
able to assert one's freedom over all things.
In order to be pure consciousness, to be truly free, I have to kill the other, kill the
threat. However, if one kills the other, then there's no one to recognize your
freedom. And one needs the other to recognize oneself as a free human being.
Thus, the solution is enslavement.
The stronger makes the weaker into a slave. But this also, in Hegel, doesn't work.
This is because one needs a free being to recognize me, but it is not a true
recognition if I am recognized by someone who is a mere brute, which is the
consequence of enslavement.
If I enslave the other, it turns out that I am the slave. This is because the master
doesn't do anything, but the slave is the one who externalizes herself through
However, the slave also has to live every single moment of her life knowing that
she does not have any control over her life. Thus, the slave must live continuously
truly dreading death.
However, in having to contemplate her finitude in that real way, the slave is able
to really grasp what it means to be a finite being, and go beyond the master. Bad Faith
The champion of sincerity is trying to reduce the homosexual to the status of a
thing. To fix his essence to “being a homosexual.”
Psychoanalysis and Bad Faith
How is it possible to hide things from ourselves?
Deception involves knowledge, knowing the truth. Also, consciousness is always a
kind of knowing consciousness, even the pre-reflective consciousness.
How is deception possible then in the cases of knowing the truth and then
choosing to hide it?
In order to lie, I would have to know the true fact, then not say it to another.
However, how can I deceive myself of the true fact?
Bad faith is a particular kind of self-deception. Sartre says it cannot be explained
by a Freudian account of the self.
Self-deception cannot be explained by the idea that there is an unconscious part
of humans that have nothing to do with agency, in the sense that you and I do not
have control nor responsibility for it. A part of the being for which one cannot be
This has to do with keeping or hiding from the conscious self by the unconscious
self. The idea is that some psychoanalyst can identify this unconscious part of the
self, and then show you it an what to do, etc.
Sartre does not think it accurately describes self-deception, because it
presupposes that we censor or repress true desires of ourselves. Sartre points out
that repressing is a rational, cons