The paper studies the divergent theories of choice spawned within the larger question of freedom in J.P. Sartre’s Being and Nothingness as well as the Critique de la raison dialectique and P. Ricoeur's Freedom and Nature: The Voluntary and the Involuntary.All the key features of Sartre’s and Ricoeur’s theories of choice are reviewed while accounting for their similarities and differences. It is argued that Sartre’s theory is best understood if distinctions are made between ontological freedom, freedom of choice, and freedom of execution. In the light of Ricoeur's position, Sartre's description of choice is shown to be phenomenologically inaccurate while his theory of motivation emerges as onesided in that it submerges all the receptive or involuntary aspects of choice in the act of resolution. The sources of Sartre's voluntaristic one-sidedness are traced to his premature leap into ontology, to his existential naivete in seeking direct description of man’s prereflexive experience, and to his rejection of the results of empirical investigations of man.The conclusion argues for the superiority of Ricoeur’s position over both the determinists' interpretations of choice and Sartre's voluntaristic existential interpretation.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0164-0771
DOI 10.5840/pra197732
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