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Bad Faith and the Actor: Onto-Mimetology from a Sartrean Point of View

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Abstract:

The article develops Sartre's remarks on the paradox of the actor in two ways. Firstly, it derives from them an 'existential ontology' of mimetic performance – an 'onto-mimetology'. Secondly, it uses this reconstruction in order to put pressure on Sartre's analogy of the actor with bad faith. In grasping the problem of acting from a Sartrean perspective, I show that this analogy is not as clear cut as he assumes and that a crucial difference exists between the situation of the theatre and that of bad faith. To master the paradox of his own being I argue the actor's technique indeed utilizes the same 'non-persuasiveness-of-belief ' thesis identified by Sartre as the condition of possibility for bad faith, yet in the actor's case it need not necessitate the condition of bad faith. In conclusion, I propose that through the notion of play, the actor sheds intriguing light on Sartre's notion of freedom.

Keywords: ANALOGON; AUTHENTICITY; DIDEROT; MIMESIS; PARADOX; THEATRE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ssi.2009.150105

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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