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Alienation and Affectivity

Beauvoir, Sartre and Levinas on the Ageing Body

Kathleen Lennon and Anthony Wilde

Abstract

In this article, we explore Beauvoir's account of what she claims is an alienated relation to our ageing bodies. This body can inhibit an active engagement with the world, which marks our humanity. Her claims rest on the binary between the body-for-itself and the body-in-itself. She shares this binary with Sartre, but a perceptive phenomenology of the affective body can also be found, which works against this binary and allows her thought to be brought into conversation with Levinas. For Levinas, the susceptibility of the body is constitutive of our subjectivity, rather than a source of alienation. If we develop Beauvoir's thought in the direction of his, an ontological structure is suggested, distinct from Sartre – a structure which makes room for her pervasive attention to affectivity.

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John Gillespie, Kyle Shuttleworth, Nik Farrell Fox, and Mike Neary

Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: An Essay in Phenomenological Ontology, trans. Sarah Richmond (London: Routledge, 2018), lxvii +848 pp., ISBN: 978-0-415-52911-2 (hardback)

Jonathan Webber, Rethinking Existentialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 256 pp., ISBN: 978-0-198-73590-8 (hardcover)

William L. Remley, Jean-Paul Sartre's Anarchist Philosophy (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), vii +277 pp., ISBN 978-1-350-04824-9 (hardback)

William Rowlandson, Sartre in Cuba – Cuba in Sartre (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), vi +132 pp., ISBN 978-3-319-61695-7

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Does the City of Ends Correspond to a Classless Society?

A New Idea of Democracy in Sartre's Hope Now

Maria Russo

Abstract

In the Critique of Dialectical Reason and in many interviews, Sartre upheld the proletariat's attempts at emancipation in Western societies and their revolts in the developing world. In these texts, counter-violence is considered the only way to exercise concrete engagement, and a classless society is presented as the only possibility of reducing social inequalities. However, this radical point of view was not the only perspective he tried to develop. He also sought to elaborate an existentialist ethics, which does not correspond to the Marxist theory. This article aims to show that Sartre evoked Notebooks’ ideas in his last interview, Hope Now, in which he envisaged a different typology of democracy and society. This article will examine this new and last direction of Sartre's political thought.

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John Gillespie and Katherine Morris

This issue spans the entirety of Sartre's philosophical life, from his mémoire on images written at the age of twenty-two for his diploma at the Ecole normale supérieure to his thoughts about democracy as expressed in his final interview, Hope Now, at seventy-four. Fittingly enough, in between come reflections on sin and love and on the ageing body. As a result, we can get a sense of how Sartre's thinking changes and develops throughout his career and is always engaged, right to the end.

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L'Image entre le corps et l'esprit

Le Mémoire de fin d'études de Sartre

Vincent de Coorebyter

Abstract

In 1927, Sartre submitted a dissertation to the Ecole normale supérieure about the Image, that has been published recently. Already in this work he outlines one of the central theses of L'Imagination and L'Imaginaire, namely that a mental image is neither an internal image, nor the reproduction of previously known sensations, but is a pure act of creation. In his dissertation, Sartre sets down in writing the image in the life of the body and the mind, in a hesitant yet very inventive manner. It helps us to understand his subsequent books concerning image without detracting from their originality.

Résumé

En 1927, Sartre dépose à l'Ecole normale supérieure un mémoire sur l'image, qui vient enfin d'être publié. Il y défend déjà une des thèses centrales de L'Imagination et de L'Imaginaire, à savoir que l'image mentale n'est pas un tableau intérieur, la reproduction de sensations anciennes : c'est une création, un acte de liberté. Dans son mémoire, Sartre inscrit l'image dans la vie du corps et de l'esprit, d'une manière encore hésitante mais aussi très inventive, qui éclaire ses livres ultérieurs sur l'image sans s'y laisser réduire.

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‘Master, Slave and Merciless Struggle’

Sin and Lovelessness in Sartre's Saint Genet

Kate Kirkpatrick

Abstract

In his biography of Jean Genet, Sartre says his aim is ‘to demonstrate that freedom alone can account for a person in his totality’. Building on my reading of Being and Nothingness in Sartre on Sin, I examine the compatibility of Sartrean freedom and love in Saint Genet. Sartre's account of Genet's person is largely a loveless one in which there is no reciprocity, others are ‘empty shells’ and love is ‘only the lofty name which [Genet] gives to onanism’. I use Saint Genet to suggest Genet's lovelessness is the direct result of locating the totality of personhood in freedom. This location results in a lonely experience of subjectivity as ‘master, slave and merciless struggle’ – never lover or beloved, whether on the divine plane or the human.

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Damon Boria, Thomas Meagher, Adrian van den Hoven, and Matthew C. Eshleman

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Matthew Eshleman

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John Ireland and Constance Mui

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Mindfulness Meditation

A Sartrean Analysis

Dane Sawyer

Abstract

In this article, I consider the rising interest in mindfulness meditation in the West and submit it to an analysis from a Sartrean phenomenological and ontological perspective. I focus on a common form of Buddhist meditation known as ānāpānasati, which focuses on the breath, in order to draw connections between common obstacles and experiences among meditation practitioners and Sartre’s understanding of consciousness. I argue that first-person reports generally support a Sartrean view of consciousness as spontaneous, free, and intentional, but I also highlight areas where Sartre’s phenomenology and ontology oversimplify the complex relationship between the pre-reflective and reflective modes of consciousness. I contend too that Sartre does not always take seriously enough the distracted, unfocused, and obsessively thought-oriented nature of consciousness.