If Descartes’ soul was always thinking, Sartre’s soul (if we may put it this way) was always not just thinking but putting those thoughts on paper. It is an indication of the enormous fertility of his thinking and writing across many decades that we continue to find food for our own thinking and writing in the whole span of his philosophical works, from his books on the imagination to his reflections on Marxism, as this issue of Sartre Studies International exemplifies. And in a year in which we seem to have rediscovered the value of dialogue with others, many of the contributions to this issue exemplify that value as well: we see here Sartre in dialogue with Husserl, with Beauvoir, with Badiou, and with Lacan.
John Gillespie and Katherine Morris
It is well known that Durkheim was a major source of influence in most of Boudon's writings. But his vision of Durkheim has evolved a lot over the years. In the 1960s until the 1990s, he presented Durkheim as a positivist, fairly close to Auguste Comte, and he considered The Rules of the Sociological Method as a mediating work which announced all of the Durkheim's thought. In his most recent works, Boudon brings an original perspective that Durkheim was an important theorist of rationality.
Boudon a développé une admiration durable pour Durkheim dont il ne s'est jamais départi. Durkheim n'a jamais cessé en effet d'être pour lui un inspirateur, mais la lecture qu'il en fait a néanmoins évolué au fil du temps. Des années 1960 aux années 1990 il le présente comme un auteur positiviste dont il admire la réflexion sur la scientificité de la sociologie. Après 1990 il le présente comme un précurseur malgré lui de l'individualisme méthodologique, et traduit sa sociologie dans le langage de la théorie de l'action.
Introduction, Translation Notes, and Comments
Ronjon Paul Datta and François Pizarro Noël
This article provides a critical introduction to the first English translation of Durkheim's Saturday, 2 December 1899, lecture that he entitled ‘Course Outline: On Penal Sanctions’. It was written for the first class of the final year of his course ‘General Physics of Law and Morality’. We provide some context to the lecture, a description of the four-year long course at Bordeaux of which it was a part, offer notes on our translation, and discuss the salience of its content. Of particular note is Durkheim's sociological reasoning, and the critical impact of antisubjectivism on the development of his special theory of sanctions and conception of morality as part of social reality.
A “Social Quality Observatory” for Central and Eastern European Countries?
Laurent J. G. van der Maesen
The Amsterdam Declaration on Social Quality, 1997
More than twenty years ago many European scholars started with the development of a new theory and its application with a declaration, the first paragraph of which follows here:
Respect for the fundamental human dignity of all citizens requires us to declare that we do not want to see growing numbers of beggars, tramps and homeless in the cities of Europe. Nor can we countenance a Europe with large numbers of unemployed, growing numbers of poor people and those who have only limited access to health care and social services. These and many other negative indicators demonstrate the current inadequacy of Europe to provide social quality for all its citizens.
At that time, it was signed by one thousand scholars from Western, Central, and Eastern European countries (). Since then societal relationships have changed, also due the radical new techniques for communication and also miscommunication. This thematic issue of the International Journal of Social Quality tries to explain the new challenges for, among other things, the contemporary state of affairs of the theory and application of social quality. In this case, we are talking about the SQT and the SQA as they apply to Central and Eastern European countries. With this in mind, how can we interpret this declaration of more than twenty years ago?
Regime Preferences Thirty Years after the Velvet Revolution
Zuzana Reptova Novakova
A singular focus on the formal institutional reforms and economic variables misses the mark when it comes to explaining the decreasing support for liberal democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. This article suggests that over thirty years after the beginning of the “transition to democracy,” a closer look at the conditional factors of social quality can shed a different light on the transformation of societal realities. In particular, it pays attention to the extent to which people are able to participate in social and societal relationships under conditions that enhance their well-being, capacity, and individual potential. Slovakia is chosen as a case study, as it is both representative of some of the wider malaises characteristic of the younger European democracies and as it is a rather interesting example of liberal democracy within the region.
Ses interventions à l'Assemblée des professeurs de la Faculté de Lettres de Bordeaux (1887–1902)
Thanks to an original archive, this article aims to characterize Durkheim's interventions at the Council of Professors in Bordeaux from 1887 to 1902. Frequency, tonality and above all the subjects of interest of his interventions are studied. We are able to see that he paid great attention to the students and their education (i.e. their courses, fees, grants, the problem of the predominance of Latin, proposals for reform of the competitive agrégation in philosophy) but that he was also interested in administrative subjects (modalities of attribution of new courses and new chairs, procedures of the council) and research subjects (subscriptions for the university library, life of the historical and local Annales du Midi). We finally discover that he certainly had administrative ambitions – to become the dean – ended by political circumstances (the Dreyfus Affair).
Cet article vise à caractériser les interventions de Durkheim aux assemblées des professeurs de la Faculté de Lettres de l'université de Bordeaux entre 1887 et 1902 en se référent à une archive inédite. Sont présentées les fréquences, la tonalité et surtout ses domaines d'interventions. On voit qu'il s'intéresse d'abord aux étudiants et à leurs études (ouverture ou fermeture des cours, attribution des bourses, droits d'inscription, problème de la prédominance du latin, réforme de l'agrégation de philosophie), mais aussi aux questions administratives (attribution des chaires, fonctionnement du conseil de l'université), et aux questions liées à la recherche (abonnements en revues à la Bibliothèque universitaire, vie de la revue antiquisante des Annales du midi). On découvre qu'il n'était pas dépourvu d'ambitions administratives, que les circonstances politiques (l'affaire Dreyfus) vinrent contrarier.
Despite the ostracism he maintained towards them, Le Play's social science continuers did not ignore Durkheim's work and commented on it – even if laconically – in their journals. The LePlayists loyal to the master's orthodoxy raised the same grievances against Durkheim throughout his academic life. They refused to accept his conception of the social fact as superior and prior to the individual, imposing itself on him with a coercive force. Their criticisms, however, were less virulent after Durkheim's death, as sociology proved a sustainable science whose project had become irrefutable. With the dissident LePlayists, the view is different. Emerging later, it dealt with the object of sociology and the method advocated by the author of the Règles. From the Tourvillians’ point of view, Durkheim's sociology does not adopt the best path for social science (investigation by direct observation), and neglects its process of coordination of social facts (the nomenclature developed by Tourville). Consequently, Durkheim's results are questionable. The debate the Tourvillians wanted to have with Durkheim took place post mortem, thanks to Bouglé and his students from the Centre de documentation sociale, and their engagement, in the 1930s, with Durkheimian sociology and social science.
En dépit de l'ostracisme de Durkheim à leur égard, les représentants de la science sociale issue de Le Play n'ont pas ignoré son œuvre et l'ont commentée – même si laconiquement – dans leurs périodiques, d'une part, La Réforme sociale, d'autre part, La Science sociale et ses dérivés.
Les leplaysiens restés dans l'orthodoxie du maître nourrissent – de la Division du travail social aux Fondements élémentaires de la vie religieuse – les mêmes griefs à l'encontre de Durkheim. Volontiers polémiques, ils refusent sa conception du fait social qui, « supérieur et antérieur à l'individu … s'impose à lui avec une force coercitive prépondérante » (Clément, 1915). Leurs critiques perdent cependant de leur virulence après la mort de Durkheim, au fur et à mesure que la sociologie s'avère une science durable dont le projet devient irréfutable.
Du côté des partisans de la science sociale renouvelée par Henri de Tourville, l'appréciation de Durkheim est différente. Plus tardive, elle porte sur l'objet de la sociologie et sur la méthode prônée par l'auteur des Règles. Aux yeux des tourvilliens, celui-ci n'emprunte pas, à tort, la « voie royale » de la science sociale : l'enquête par observation directe, et néglige l'outil de coordination des faits sociaux qu'est la nomenclature mise au point par Tourville. Dès lors, les résultats auxquels aboutit Durkheim, par exemple dans les Fondements, sont sujets à caution (Descamps, 1912). La critique des tourvilliens est d'autant plus vive qu'elle se nourrit d'un dépit : Durkheim ne fait aucun cas de leurs travaux (Périer, 1913). Le débat qu'ils auraient souhaité engager n'aura lieu que post mortem, grâce à Bouglé et ses élèves du Centre de documentation sociale (Aron, Polin) qui joueront le jeu, dans les années trente, de la confrontation entre sociologie et science sociale.
John Ireland and Constance Mui
The fortieth anniversary of Sartre's death, on April 15 of this year, found much of the world in lockdown in response to a new virus, Covid-19, which has changed humanity's situation on this planet in ways we will be struggling to elucidate for years to come. In these unprecedented circumstances, Sartre's thought has been an obvious resource to help us understand the impact and ramifications of this pandemic. The virus has been an unsparing indicator in itself of social injustice, unmasking the pious platitudes of our advanced, modern democracies. In the United States in particular, the reality is truly ugly. Covid-19 has shed pitiless light on the disparity between affluent white communities, able to “shelter in place” and avoid putting their members at risk of infection, and less affluent black and brown districts, where workers on subsistence salaries, often without health-care benefits, have been forced to work in unsafe conditions, with terrible consequences for them and their families. Living in the “richest” country on earth, we can imagine only too easily Sartre's vitriolic assessment of America in its present crisis. And it is just as easy to imagine the fervor with which he would have embraced the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted all over the world, provoked by the 8 minute 46 second video clip that showed the matter-of-fact murder by asphyxiation of George Floyd by white police officers in Minneapolis.