Interdependent Freedom: Sartrean Collectivism as (Good) Bad News for an Iconic American Myth

in Volume 20 (2014): Issue 2 (Jan 2014)

This article attempts a full appreciation of interdependence in Sartre's thinking about practical freedom. The result is an account that opens Sartre's thinking on practical freedom to more than just the empowerment of individuals and groups. Ultimately, this means privileging, perhaps paradoxically, a vision of practical freedom that is greater by being more limited. The trajectory for this attempt is Sartre's 1971 diagnosis of America as “full of myths,” which provokes a critical examination of a vision of freedom in independence. The attempt is then fleshed out through encounters with notions that linger at the fringes of Sartre's thought, namely, happiness, progress, equality and the possibility of everything.