‘This Is a Farce’

Sartrean Ethics in History, 1938–1948 – From Kantian Universalism to Derision

in Volume 22 (2016): Issue 1 (Mar 2016): Thinking with Sartre Today. Guest editors: Ârash Aminian Tabrizi, Kate Kirkpatrick, Marieke Mueller

In his quest for an ethics, Sartre went from a universalism of a Kantian type (L’Existentianlisme est un humanisme) to inscribing ethical action in History, that is, in a dialectics of ends and means (Cahiers pour une morale). This dialectics, here studied in the period between 1938 and 1948, also constitutes the subtext of a number of his literary and dramatic works, where it recurs more insistently than in its philosophical developments: Sartre’s first intuition, contingency.