Reflection, Memory and Selfhood in Jean-Paul Sartre's Early Philosophy

in Sartre Studies International
Author: Lior Levy
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The article advances an interpretation of the self as an imaginary object. Focusing on the relationship between selfhood and memory in Sartre's The Transcendence of the Ego, I argue that Sartre offers useful resources for thinking about the self in terms of narratives. Against interpretations that hold that the ego misrepresents consciousness or distorts it, I argue that the constitution of the ego marks a radical transformation of the conscious field. To prove this point, I turn to the role of reflection and memory in the creation of the self. Reflection and memory weave past, present and future into a consistent and meaningful life story. This story is no other than the self. I propose to understand the self as a fictional or imaginary entity, albeit one that has real presence in human life.

Sartre Studies International

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Existentialism and Contemporary Culture

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