Imagination and the imaginary, both in life and in Sartre's treatment of these phenomena, seem so wide-ranging that it is hard to find your feet—what is in common between imagining the absent Pierre's face and imagining something never before seen? What role does imagination play in seeing someone in a portrait of them? What about in seeing Chevalier in Franconnay's imitation (or ‘performative simulation’) of him? Elad Magomedov's question is even trickier: how do we navigate the similarities and differences between Franconnay's Chevalier, Sartre's waiter's ‘playing at being a waiter’, and Jean-Claude Romand, ‘the “real” impostor who for fifteen years pretended to be a medical professional and ended up killing his entire family’?
John Gillespie and Katherine Morris
The Feel of the Past
Sartre on Memory and Imagination
This article addresses the distinction which Sartre draws between memory and imagination. The article is in two parts. In the first part it is suggested that, in common with the distinction he draws between imagining and perceiving, the separation of memory and imagination is undermined by Sartre's own phenomenology. Memories are part of the family of imaginings to which Sartre directs us. Nonetheless, in the second part of the article, Sartre's distinction is revisited. The working of imagination in memory does not mean that we are making up our past. Utilising Barthes’ discussion, in Camera Lucida it is argued that memory provides a distinctive relation to our past, which makes evident to us what it is to live a life in time.
From Jean-Paul Sartre to Critical Existentialism
Notes for an Existentialist Ethical Theory
This article examines Sartre's works in which his attempt to find an existentialist ethics is evident. Most of the clues to this project are to be found in texts published posthumously since during his lifetime he never managed to fulfil the promise he made at the end of Being and Nothingness. It will be argued that this existentialist ethics owes a strong debt to Kantian philosophy, even if it confronts more directly the historical dynamics of violence and oppression. Despite the fact that this project is unfinished and only sketched out, it is possible to ask what Sartre's direction of development would have been, pointing to the outline of a normative theory, Critical Existentialism, that could have its place in contemporary ethical debate.
Performative and Eidetic Simulations
Three Imaginary Regimes
Different kinds of fakery and imposture can be differentiated by means of the imaginary regimes within which a performative simulation unfolds. Engaging with Sartre's analysis of the imaginary, we will identify three such regimes, calling them the objective, the reflective, and the phantasmatic. Each of these regimes involves its own kind of image and accordingly a specific type of simulation. It is proper to the objective image to attain dissimulation of the self by replacing the real with fiction. In the reflective regime, the real is not substituted by the imaginary, but rather contaminated by it. Finally, whereas the objective and the reflective regimes operate within the sphere of intentional (dis)simulation, the phantasmatic image carries us beyond Sartre's findings, as it shapes the very structure of pre-reflective disclosedness which provides the background for our projects.
Anti-Racism and Existential Philosophy
An interview with Kathryn Sophia Belle
Kathryn Sophia Belle and Edward O'Byrn
Kathryn Sophia Belle's (formerly Kathryn T. Gines’) publications engaged in this interview:
2003 (Fanon/Sartre 50 yrs) “Sartre and Fanon Fifty Years Later: To Retain or Reject the Concept of Race,” Sartre Studies International, Vol. 9, Issue 2 (2003): 55-67, https://doi.org/10.3167/135715503781800213.
2010 (Convergences) “Sartre, Beauvoir, and the Race/Gender Analogy: A Case for Black Feminist Philosophy” in Convergences: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy, pages 35-51. Eds. Maria Davidson, Kathryn T. Gines, Donna Dale Marcano. New York: SUNY, 2010.
2011 (Wright/Legacy) “The Man Who Lived Underground: Jean-Paul Sartre and the Philosophical Legacy of Richard Wright,” Sartre Studies International, Vol. 17, Issue 2 (2011): 42-59, https://doi.org/10.3167/ssi.2011.170204.
2012 (Reflections) “Reflections on the Legacy and Future of Continental Philosophy with Regard to Critical Philosophy of Race,” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 50, Issue 2 (June 2012): 329-344, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2041-6962.2012.00109.x.
Coalition as a counterpoint to the intersectional critique of The Second Sex
The analogy Simone de Beauvoir draws between “les femmes” and “des Noirs d'Amérique” is a key part of the intersectional critique of The Second Sex. Intersectional critics persuasively argue that Beauvoir's analogy reveals the white, middle-class identity of The Second Sex's ostensibly universal “woman”, emphasizing the fact that the text does not account for the experiences of black, Jewish, proletariat or indigenous women. In this essay, I point to multiple instances in The Second Sex in which Beauvoir endorses a coalition between workers black and white, male and female. When Beauvoir writes on economic injustice, she advocates for an inclusive workers party where racial and sexual differences become immaterial as workers come together in a collective struggle. I thus propose that Beauvoir's Marxism is an overlooked, yet important, counterpoint to the intersectional critique of The Second Sex.
Decolonization as Existential Paradox
Lewis Gordon's Political Commitment to Thinking Otherwise and Setting Afoot a New Humanity
This article offers a critical analysis of Euromodernity through an engagement with the Africana existentialism of Lewis R. Gordon. Drawing on Gordon's recent work Freedom, Justice, and Decolonization (Routledge, 2021) as well as Frantz Fanon, the author argues for the need to decolonize modernity by decoupling Europe and reason, freedom, knowledge, and power. Understanding what it means to be a human being involves an ongoing commitment understanding its relationship to the larger structures of reality, including social reality.
Existential Psychoanalysis and Sociogeny
This article explores Sartre's existential psychoanalysis as a phenomenological method for apprehending the fundamental project of the existent through an examination of the anonymous features of human desire. In grasping the anonymity underlying the “I want,” existential psychoanalysis seeks the meaning of freedom from a standpoint of alterity. I then analyze Fanon's Black Skin White Masks as a work of existential psychoanalysis which hinges on his use of “sociogeny” to diagnose the alienation of Black existents. Finally, I conclude by examining the implications of a Fanonian existential psychoanalysis for anti-racism through a discussion of Michael Monahan's critical reflections on the notion of being nonracist.
Existentialism is an Antiracism
T Storm Heter
This special issue explores how existential thinking can be a living, global force that opposes racist praxis and thought. We are used to hearing that the “heyday” of existentialism was the middle of the twentieth century. In truth, because existential thought is future-oriented, the heyday of existentialism may be yet to come.
Interrogating Sartre and Apartheid
Mabogo Percy More
In an important article published last year (2020), Tal Sela asserts that Sartre's contributions to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa throughout the 1960s are overblown and overestimated. Sartre was motivated, Sela argues, by a desire for self-aggrandizement rather than by any genuine concern for the victims of apartheid racism. This article refutes those claims. In countering Sela's arguments, I revisit in detail Sartre's interventions denouncing the phenomenon of apartheid and establish the importance of Sartre's tireless struggle against racism to highlight the force of his opposition to South Africa's infamous policy and his equally firm commitment to freedom both in his philosophy and personal life.