Bergoffen, Debra. “Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre: Woman, Man and the Desire to be God”, Constellations,9 (3): 406–418, 2002.
Beauvoir and Sartre share an existential vocabulary. Both invoke the categories of bad faith and the look, both describe consciousness as a transcendence and a freedom and both refer to freedom as a negating intentionality. Beauvoir’s concept of ambiguity stands between this shared vocabulary. For Sartre, the intentionality of consciousness is an unambiguous negating activity saturated with an unambiguous desire to be that coalesces around the desire to be God, that impossible synthesis of the for itself-in-itself. For Beauvoir the intentionality of consciousness is ambiguous. It is the site of a two folded relationship to being and a doubled desire. Employing the logic of the either/or, Sartre assails the bad faith of the desire to be God. Invoking the logic of ambiguity, Beauvoir embraces the failure of this desire. According to The Ethics of Ambiguity, our vain attempt to be God makes us human. It is also a source of joy (Beauvoir, 1948,12-13).