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Sartre and God: A Spiritual Odyssey? Part 2

John H. Gillespie

These two articles examine whether Sartre's final interviews, recorded in L'Espoir maintenant (Hope Now) indicate a final turn to God and religious belief through an overview of his engagement with the idea of God throughout his career. Part 1, published in Sartre Studies International 19, no. 1, examined Sartre's early atheism, but noted the pervasive nature of secularised Christian metaphors and concepts in his religion of letters and also the centrality of mankind's desire to be God in L'Etre et le néant (Being and Nothingness). Sartre's theoretical writings sought to refute the idea of God, but in doing so, made God paradoxically both absent and present. Part 2 considers Sartre's anti-theism and its implications for his involvement with the idea of God before examining in detail his final encounter with theism as outlined in L'Espoir maintenant, arguing that it is part of Sartre's long-term engagement with the divine, but refuting the idea that he became a theist at the end of his life.

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Sartre et Foucault: Parcours de Réconciliation

Francesco Caddeo

After decades of separation between Sartre's philosophy and Foucault's philosophy, we are now in a position to offer an analysis free from all dogmatic presuppositions. On the basis of certain themes, such as the study of the mechanisms of power, systems of marginalization, and how subjectivity is constituted, it is now possible to create links which go beyond the sterile polemics which have so often marked French philosophy. Today, Sartre and Foucault can be re-read as two very important tool-keys for giving us a way to understand the developments arising during our time. Their personal polemic of the mid-1960s must be re-read as a mutual misunderstanding. Notwithstanding some of the acerbic remarks the two philosophers said about each other, we will see that in these same pages can be found ways of thinking, especially regarding the conception of subjectivity, which can bring together these two intellectual itineraries.

French Après quelques décennies de séparation académique entre la philosophie sartrienne et foucaldienne, nous pouvons maintenant déployer une analyse qui se détache de tous les préjugés dogmatiques. À partir de certaines thématiques particulières comme celles de l'étude des mécanismes du pouvoir, des systèmes de marginalisation, de constitution de la subjectivité, il est possible aujourd'hui de construire des liens qui dépassent les stériles polémiques qui ont souvent marqué la philosophie française. Aujourd'hui Sartre et Foucault peuvent être relus, en fait, comme deux boites-à-outils très importantes pour donner une clé de lecture des évènements marquants de l'époque contemporaine. Leur polémique personnelle du milieu des années soixante doit être relue, en effet, comme une incompréhension réciproque : malgré les échanges acerbes entre les deux philosophes, nous verrons dans ces pages que certaines considérations, surtout à propos de la conception de la subjectivité, peuvent rapprocher les deux parcours intellectuels.

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Sartre, Kafka and the Universality of the Literary Work

Jo Bogaerts

French existentialism is commonly regarded as the main impetus for the universal significance that Kafka gained in postwar France. A leading critic, Marthe Robert, has contended that this entailed an outright rejection of interest in the biographical, linguistic and historical dimension of Kafka's writing in order to interpret it as a general expression of the human condition. This article will consider this claim in the light of Sartre's original conceptualization of a dialectic of the universal and the particular in the intercultural mediation of the work of art. The notion of a 'true universality' proposed by Sartre as a defence of Kafka during the 1962 Moscow Peace Conference will allow for a reassessment of Robert's criticism in a paradoxical reversal of terms: it is precisely the inevitable loss of context and the appropriation within one's own particular situation which allow the literary work to elucidate a foreign historical context and thereby gain a wider significance. Rather than a universal meaning of the work, Sartre's concept points to literature's potential to continually release specific meanings in new contexts.

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Sartre's America

John Ireland

Yan Hamel, L’Amérique selon Sartre : littérature, philosophie, politique. Montreal : Presses Universitaires de Montréal, 2013, 267 pages.

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Sartre's Eighteenth Century: A Model for Engagement?

Wesley Gunter

Sartre's thoughts on the eighteenth century are ambiguous and schematic at best but they do contain an interesting analysis of materialism that continues from this period through to the early 1940s. Even though Sartre refers to the eighteenth-century as a paradise soon-to-be lost, it is argued here that his condemnation of atomistic materialism as it was conceived during this period is directly linked to his rejection of the dialectical materialism of the Communist Party and bourgeois ideology. This article examines the relationship between these different modes of thought and seeks to demonstrate how Sartre's take on the eighteenth century provided a stern warning to the communists about the pitfalls associated with basing a revolution on materialist doctrine.

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Baudelaire et Mallarmé de Jean-Paul Sartre ou la captivité affective

Noémie Mayer

Abstract: Using an analysis of two of Sartre's biographies, and , I will show how freedom can be inverted into captivity in order to constitute an affective destiny. If every choice, act and affect of an individual is, through its “original project,” confined to a specific framework, the schema of freedom positing its choice of existence seems to resemble a circle of captivity: total freedom at the outset, and then a trapped freedom, limited by itself. At the basis of this alienating circle lie original emotions: consciousness reacts affectively to its initial situation, before even constituting itself as a , and adopts these emotions as integral parts of its project, as the structure of its relationship to the world. But the empirical affects which follow are then captured in the vortex of captivity, in accordance with a two-fold criterion: participating in the ultimate end of the individual while at the same time being inscribed in the affective structure which follows from it. Originally the very source of the original project, emotion then becomes its slave.

French À travers l'analyse de deux biographies sartriennes, Baudelaire et Mallarmé, nous mettons en évidence la manière dont la liberté s'inverse en captivité pour se constituer un destin affectif. Si tout choix, acte et affect de l'individu est, par son projet originel, circonscrit à un cadre d'action précis, le schéma de la liberté posant son choix d'existence paraît assimilable au cercle de la captivité : une liberté totale à l'origine, une liberté piégée, limitée par elle-même, ensuite. Au fondement même de ce cercle aliénant, des émotions originelles : la conscience réagit affectivement à sa situation initiale, avant même de se constituer en personne, et assume ces émotions comme partie intégrante de son projet, comme structure de son rapport au monde. Mais les affects empiriques qui s'ensuivent sont alors pris dans le tourbillon de la captivité, devant répondre à un double critère : participer à la fin ultime de l'individu tout en s'inscrivant dans la structure affective qui en découle. Source même du projet originel, l'émotion en devient l'esclave.

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Book Review

Adam Moeller

Jonathan Judaken and Robert Bernasconi, Situating Existentialism: Key Texts in Context Review by Adam Moeller

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Concerning the Ambivalence of Sartre on Violence: A Commentary/Rejoinder

Ronald E. Santoni

In this article, I maintain that (1) Sartre's views on violence are ambivalent and (2) Sartre sometimes justifies violence. More specifically, I attempt to establish the misreadings by Michael Fleming and Marguerite LaCaze (on whom Fleming relies) of both my writing and Sartre's in these regards. Each, by arguing that, for Sartre, violence is “sometimes acceptable” or “functionally necessary” or “understandable,” but not morally justifiable, is ignoring Sartre's tendency at times to skirt the issue of justifiability by employing “weasel words” that amount to justification. Both critics seem to forget that Sartre says that, on occasion, violence “could be called just” (qu'on pourrait appeler juste), especially in conditions of last resort defense against oppression, in which case violence, according to Sartre, can restore and regenerate the oppressed. Further, although I acknowledge Fleming's noteworthy emphasis on “structural violence,” I offer considerable counterevidence against his (and LaCaze's) claim that I ignore or slight Sartre's concern for it. I argue, on Sartrean grounds, against his (and Zizek's) claim that structural violence can be purely objective. Finally, I contend that in arguing that Sartre's views are not strictly ambivalent, Fleming, following LaCaze, makes the error of equating “consistency” with not being ambivalent.

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Du poêle au divan: analyses cartésiennes et psychanalyse sartrienne

Christophe Perrin

Although Sartre denounces Descartes' two principles, he nevertheless draws inspiration from him. No doubt this is close to being paradoxical; we shall have to be no less paradoxical in our explanation. For although the text entitled “Cartesian Freedom,” which introduces a volume of selections from Descartes, , confers some coherence on this apparent non-sense, once the texts surrounding this work have been taken into account, we have to conclude not only that this text predates , even though it was published afterwards, but that it is a collection of Descartes' writings on Sartre, even though it is a writing by Sartre on Descartes. For beyond the Sartrean analysis of the Cartesian analyses of the , we find Sartre's existential psychoanalysis of his predecessor, in which takes place not a transference, but a counter-transference.

French S'il déclame contre les deux principes qui sont ceux de Descartes, Sartre se réclame pourtant de lui. Sans doute n'est-il pas à un paradoxe près. Reste qu'il nous faudra ne pas l'être moins pour expliquer le sien. Car certes, le sens du texte qu'il intitule « La li berté cartésienne » et qui articule ce volume de morceaux choisis qu'est Descartes 1596-1650 confère quelque cohérence à cet apparent non-sens. Mais une fois présenté de cette œuvre le paratexte, il nous faudra affirmer non seulement que celle-ci se lit avant L'être et le néant quoiqu'elle ait été publiée après, mais, plus encore, qu'elle est un ensemble d'écrits de Descartes sur Sartre quoiqu'elle soit un écrit de Sartre sur Descartes. C'est qu'outre l'analyse sartrienne des analyses cartésiennes de la Méditation quatrième, on y trouve une psychanalyse existentielle par l'auteur de son devancier, à l'occasion de laquelle a lieu non pas un transfert, mais un contre-transfert.

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A Note to Our Readers

This issue inaugurates a new phase of Sartre Studies International: for the first time, we are publishing articles in French as well as English.