First seen in 2015's "Existential Questions I Hadn't Considered: 'Is There a Gnawing Ennui Within the Financial Industry?'"
This article will offer an alternative understanding of managerial decision-making drawing from Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason rather than simply Being and Nothingness. I will begin with a brief explanation of Sartre’s account of freedom in Being and Nothingness. I will then show in the second section how Andrew West uses Sartre’s conception of radical freedom from Being and Nothingness for a managerial decision-making model. In the third section, I will explore a more robust account of freedom from Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason. I will attempt to show that freedom is not simply a matter of choosing (or not choosing) to perform an action, but entails external constraints—including other people. Finally, I will provide the implications of this account of freedom for managerial decision-making. I will show that it’s unreasonable to place full responsibility and/or blame on managers given their constraints. This does not absolve them from responsibility, but better accounts for the way in which we ought to hold them responsible.
All of which is just an excuse to reward any reader who has stuck with me this far and revisit a bit of genius:
Le Blog de Jean-Paul Sartre
Saturday, 11 July, 1959: 2:07 A.M.
I am awake and alone at 2 A.M.
There must be a God. There cannot be a God.
I will start a blog.
Sunday, 12 July, 1959: 9:55 A.M.
An angry crow mocked me this morning. I couldn’t finish my croissant, and fled the café in despair.
The crow descended on the croissant, squawking fiercely. Perhaps this was its plan.
Perhaps there is no plan.
Thursday, 16 July, 1959: 7:45 P.M.
When S. returned this afternoon I asked her where she had been, and she said she had been in the street.
“Perhaps,” I said, “that explains why you look ‘rue’-ful.”
Her blank stare only reinforced for me the futility of existence.
Friday, 17 July, 1959: 12:20 P.M.
When S. came through my study just now I asked her to wait a moment.
“Rueful,” I told her. “Because ‘rue’ is the French word for street.”
“What?” she said.
“From yesterday,” I said.
“Oh,” she said. “Yeah. Right.”
“And you said you had been in the street.”
“I got it,” she said.
“It was a pun,” I said.
“Got it,” she said. “Puns aren’t your thing, are they?”...
HT: Marginal Revolution