Violence and Sacrifice and the role they do or should play in liberation and/or freedom: [Focus is primarily on Essay #3 of “The Ethics of Ambiguity”, Parts 2 & 3; You may also consider some of the questions posed for theme #2 above]. Questions to consider (you should not try to answer all these questions, but instead use them to choose a thesis statement upon which to build your own argument and to also discuss some aspect of “Ethics of Ambiguity” that is related to the above stated theme: Those sets of questions below in boldface are most central to this theme, but feel free to also select from among the other questions, especially if they are relevant to what you want to discuss and argue.)
What, if anything, justifies violence and why or how and by whom? (What does Beauvoir say about this in Essay #3, Part 3, “The Antinomies of Action”?) Does violence already exist in a society where there is widespread oppression, even if there is not open conflict? In other words, does it take violence by oppressors to oppress other people? Does violence necessarily involve sacrifice (and sacrifice of those on one’s own side as well as the other side in a conflict) and introduce a failure into our undertakings, or do all actions already have the possibility of failure, according to Beauvoir? According to you? What exactly is sacrificed – is it only one’s physical life or does it include more than that? How might that sacrifice be characterized by those who suffer it or whose relatives or fellow members of a society suffer it? Would they be victims or heroes? Or martyrs? Or fools? Might it depend upon whether or not a battle ends in defeat or victory? Might some battles be “never-ending”? Does the exercise of authority or governing itself always presume a role for violence? How might sacrifice apply to both sides in a conflict? You should draw upon either Beauvoir’s own examples or examples from today’s society in your discussion and argument.