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The Violence of the Political and the Politics of Violence: Dirty Hands Reconsidered

Larry Busk

This article considers Sartre's perspective on political violence with reference to his 1948 play Dirty Hands. Focusing on the concrete political questions that confronted Sartre in his context, it traces the development and result of conversations with Merleau-Ponty, Camus and the Marxist tradition that shaped his thinking on this subject. At the end of this dialectical process, Sartre arrived at a position that refused both bourgeois humanism, with its disavowal of political violence, and what is here termed Official Communism – the prevailing Manichean politics of his day and the institutionalized repression that went along with it. In other words, he affirmed the violence of the political without by that token affirming the politics of violence. It is argued here that these conversations and this conclusion are dramatically illustrated in Dirty Hands.

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Book Reviews

Tim Huntley, Alistair Rolls, and David Drake

Helen Tattam, Time in the Philosophy of Gabriel Marcel Review by Tim Huntley

Rosemary Lloyd and Jean Fornasiero (eds.), Magnificent Obsessions: Honouring the Lives of Hazel Rowley Review by Alistair Rolls

Emmanuel Barot (dir.), Sartre et le Marxisme Richard Wolin, The Wind from the East: French Intellectuals, the Cultural Revolution and the Legacy of the 1960s Léo Lévy, A la vie Review by David Drake

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Book Reviews

Thomas R. Flynn and Steven Hendley

Ronald Aronson and Adrian van den Hoven (eds.), We Have Only This Life To Live: The Selected Essays of Jean-Paul Sartre, 1939-1975 Review by Thomas R. Flynn

Sonia Kruks, Simone de Beauvoir and the Politics of Ambiguity Review by Steven Hendley

Sean B. Carroll, Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize Review by Damon Boria

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Entre Sartre et Spinoza: le monisme critique de Harald Höffding

Marie-Andrée Charbonneau

Sartre's reading of Harald Höffding's works was instrumental in his critical reception of Spinoza. One may find traces of Höffding's critical monism in Sartre's Being and Nothingness. Höffding had formulated his critical monism in order to remedy what he perceived to be problems in Spinoza's view. Sartre's critique of Spinoza aligns with that of Höffding. Moreover, Höffding's influence on Sartre goes well beyond the reception of Spinoza. Indeed, the young Sartre's interest in Bergson, psychology and questions relative to the totality of Being could have followed from his reading of Höffding. In fact, the way in which Höffding tackles questions about the soul, the world, and God illuminates the timid proposals offered by Sartre in the conclusion of Thus, understanding Höffding

French Cet article démontrera que la réception critique de Spinoza par Sartre est influencée par sa lecture des oeuvres de Harald Höffding. Une lecture attentive permet d'identifier des traces du monisme critique de celui-ci dans L'être et le néant. Ce monisme critique avait été formulé afin de pallier aux problèmes perçus par Höffding chez Spinoza. Or, cette même critique se retrouve chez Sartre. De plus, cet article fera aussi la démonstration que l'influence de Höffding sur Sartre va au-delà de la réception de Spinoza. En effet, l'intérêt du jeune Sartre pour Bergson, la psychologie et les questions relatives à la totalité de l'Être pourraient être le résultat de sa lecture de Höffding. En fait, la manière dont Höffding traite des questions de l'âme, du monde et de Dieu éclairent les timides propositions métaphysiques offertes par Sartre en conclusion de L'être et le néant. Par conséquent, bien comprendre Höffding permet de mieux comprendre Sartre.

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Flaubert's Destiny: Freedom and Alienation in L'Idiot de la famille

Marieke Mueller

As an attempt to formulate epistemological boundaries (“que peut-on savoir d'un homme, aujourd'hui?”), for which Gustave Flaubert becomes a test-case, L'Idiot de la famille (1971-1972) can be seen simultaneously as the exemplification of a method and as a re-assertion and further development of Sartre's theory of subjectivity. This article proposes to approach the issue of Sartre's notion of human subjectivity in L'Idiot from the particular angle of the idea of “destiny.” It will be argued that the term “destin” provides a focal point for multiple visions of subjectivity as it contains at least three layers of meaning: firstly, Sartre's representation of Flaubert's idea of his life as predetermined destiny; secondly, Sartre's analysis of destiny as a situation created by others; and finally, an understanding of destiny which is close to the notion of the project. It will be argued that precisely the mutual interdependence of these terms is an expression of Sartre's conception of alienation and the possibility of freedom.

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

Damon Boria

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.

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Le théâtre de Sartre: Morale de la liberté, morale nietzschéenne

Christine Daigle

This article shows that Sartre’s theatrical works offer a reflection on morality, in particular The Flies, The Devil and the Good Lord, and The Sequestered of Altona. The ethical reflections that we find in his plays fill a philosophical gap left after Being and Nothingness. The plays offer an exploration of freedom’s rootedness in situation which complements the more theoretical notes of the posthumously published Notebooks for an Ethics. Additionally, I link Sartre’s ethics and Nietzsche’s ethics showing that both thinkers rest their philosophies on a strict atheism. Further, their elaborations on morality follow a similar path by emphasizing individual freedom and thus subsequently the responsibility of the individual as the creator of values.

Cet article fait la démonstration que les œuvres théâtrales de Sartre, plus particulièrement Les Mouches, Le Diable et le bon dieu et Les Séquestrés d'Altona, tiennent lieu de réflexion morale chez Sartre. La réflexion éthique qu'on y retrouve comble un manque laissé par les écrits philosophiques suivant L'Être et le néant. Les pièces et leur exploration de l'ancrage de la liberté dans la situation offrent un complément aux notes plus théoriques des Cahiers pour une morale, publiés à titre posthume. En plus de faire cette démonstration, cet article explore les liens entre la morale des pièces sartriennes et la morale nietzschéenne. Il ressort de cet examen que ces deux morales s'appuient sur un athéisme pur et dur et s'élaborent de même façon en mettant l'emphase sur la liberté de l'individu et son rôle en tant que créateur de valeurs.

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The Magic of the Other: Sartre on Our Relation with Others in Ontology and Experience

Julie Van der Wielen

Sartre's analysis of intersubjective relations through his concept of the look seems unable to give an account of intersubjectivity. By distinguishing the look as an ontological conflict from our relation with others in experience, we will see that actually intersubjectivity is not incompatible with this theory. Furthermore, we will see that the ontological conflict with the Other always erupts in experience in the form of an emotion, and thus always involves magic, and we will look into what the presence of the Other adds to such emotion. Emotions I have in front of the Other are directed toward my being-for-others, which escapes me by definition. This has a peculiar consequence when the imaginary is involved, which could help explain complexes such as narcissism and paranoia.

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The Return of Stolen Praxis: Counter-Finality in Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason

Christopher Turner

What is counter-finality? Who, or what, is the agent of counter-finality? In the Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre employs a complicated and multivalent notion of counter-finality, the reversal of the finality intended by an agent in different contexts and at different levels of complexity. Sartre's concept of counter-finality is read here as an attempt to rethink and broaden the traditional Marxist notion of commodity fetishism as a tragic dialectic of human history whose final act has yet to play out. The article analyses and explicates Sartre's complex concept of counter-finality, focusing on material antipraxis.

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Sartre and Cyber-Dissidence: The Groupe en Fusion and the Putative We-Subject

John G. Wilson

Recently, social-media tools have been widely credited with igniting pervasive social upheavals in the Middle East, some of which brought down governments. This article explores the putative structure of such gatherings and considers new developments in what such collectives might be from a Sartrean perspective, in particular as mediated by the arrival of social media. A Sartrean perspective on the still indefinite composition of media collectives is offered under Sartre's concept of the groupe en fusion, yet still open to discussion under his concept of individual free choice. Throughout, the chimerical presence of the We-subject, as an ontologically suspect entity arises, in particular when reification is attempted by socialmedia users living under illiberal political regimes. The situation of dissident women in the Middle East is often referred to.