HomePhilosophia: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 18 no. 1 (2017)


Hulya Simga

Discipline: Philosophy, Ethics



This paper focuses on Simone de Beauvoir’s ethics. My aim is to discuss the intimate relation of freedom and rights in order to suggest that the ethical implications of her phenomenological-existentialist analysis of the human condition, developed mainly in the ethics of ambiguity, can make a valuable contribution to ethical value and corroboration of human rights, the conceptual grounding of which is sometimes received with intellectual skepticism. I argue that in Beauvoir’s ethical theory, grounded on the will to freedom, not only do rights become more intelligible but their significance also becomes more communicable. By making freedom conditional upon willing not only that oneself be free but that everyone else may also be free, Beauvoir advances a universal demand for the most basic conditions necessary for individuals to realize themselves. Accordingly, Beauvoir’s conception of genuine freedom, incorporating the value of freedom and the duty to act in recognition of this value, gives us the possibility to argue for the requisite freedoms as well as the necessity to substantiate these freedoms in human rights