Evaluation of Example 2: Existential Freedom


“[F]reedom is the freedom of choosing but not the freedom of not choosing. Not to choose is, in fact, to choose not to choose.”

Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness trans. Hazel E. Barnes (New York: Philosophical Library, 1956), 481.


The passage is not a fallacy but a metastatement. Sartre is saying that one cannot not choose without implicitly choosing not to choose the decision under consideration. But the freedom not to choose is different from the freedom to choose in that the latter is what authentic freedom is about. From another point of view, the thesis is not circular because in a sense, unlike a circular statement, it is falsifiable. If I were to forget to make a choice, I did not necessarily choose not to choose or choose to forget.