Teleological Suspensions & Jean-Paul Sartre This Is Term Paper

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Teleological Suspensions & Jean-Paul Sartre

This is a paper on the topic of "Teleological Suspensions" and Jean-Paul Sartre.


The story of Abraham and Isaac is known throughout the world. The question that many may ask: Why was Abraham willing to sacrifice Isaac? This was murder so how could God ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? What is the essence of Existentialism?

Kiekegaard once stated, "The story of Abraham contains a teleological suspension of the ethical" (McMahon 1). The story about Abraham and Isaac is one of sacrifice. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son's life because God told him to go and sacrifice Isaac. Abraham was willing to do the sacrifice. However, God told him it was not necessary. God gave Abraham a lamb to sacrifice.

Questions are asked: How did God ask Abraham to murder an innocent child?

When Abraham was willing to do kill his son, was he actually committing a murder? How could Abraham give his child to be sacrificed?

These questions can be considered in the study of Existentialism. God's dilemma placed on Abraham was it ethical? Could he commit a murder? Abraham was a moral man. He believed in God and wanted to follow his orders. Yet, how could Abraham be willing to consider taking a life? "Is there a higher 'law' above that which the ethical stage may procure" (McMahon 1)? Sartre always held there were at least two choices at all moments: life and death.
Abraham was willing to give his son's life to obey God. Knowing an all-powerful God, he knew God could have saved Isaac at any point, but Abraham believed in God's promises and continued to meet the needs of the person.

One of Jean-Paul's philosophy statements can be found: An act of freedom is any act that was necessary and had sufficient conditions of that action did not exist in the events preceding the action. Perhaps by offering the sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham liberated himself and Isaac by making the extreme sacrifice. Once the offer was done, then God could set them free in a physical meaning as well as a scriptural setting free.

There is no ethical suspension but only an ethical revelation on the part of God toward man. Abraham knows that the command had come from God. And in knowing this he obeyed God rather than disobey on the grounds of his own ethics, he knew the ethics of God are much higher than his own -- he knew God was God" (McMahon 2).

Many of Soren Kiekegaard thoughts were based on questions….....

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