In this article, published in 1971, we find themes of responsibility and solidarity that resonate throughout Simone de Beauvoir’s lifetime of writing and thought. Beginning with the polemic of the title of the essay, which also stands as its final emphatic statement, she is intent on exposing an injustice that results from what she calls “bourgeois justice” and on issuing a call to knowledge and action on the part of her readers. She takes the kind of situation that all of us would regard with proper sentiments of horror when we hear of it—a factory fire in which fifty-seven people suffered severe injury or death—and asks more of her readers, as humans living in an intersubjective world in which actions and inaction can have a profound effect on the lives and freedom of others....
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