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Being-for-itself and the Ontological Structure

Can Being-for-itself Avoid Bad Faith?

Ronald E. Santoni

Abstract

In this paper, I pay tribute to Jonathan Webber, one of the most dependable interpreters among recent Sartre scholars. I do so by challenging both him and Sartre on an issue that has long frustrated my work on Sartre. In short, Sartre contends that the For-itself's desire to be (and to pursue) Being-in-itself-for-itself (i.e., God) is in bad faith. This raises two issues: (1) Is this desire to be ens causa sui part of the ontological structure of the For-itself? (2) If so, is bad faith an essential part of the human being? I contend that the desire to be the In-itself-for-itself is, on Sartre's premises, part of the ontological structure of an existing human being (pour-soi). As our original flight from freedom and “fundamental project,” this constitutes bad faith's “coming into the world,” and remains part of Being-for-itself's “natural” disposition to bad faith.

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Mike Gane

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Sarah Horton and Adrian van den Hoven

Daniel O'Shiel, Sartre and Magic: Being, Emotion, and Philosophy (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), 198 pp., $79.80, ISBN: 978-1-3500-7766-9 (hardback).

Brill's Companion to Camus: Camus among the Philosophers. Eds. Matthew Sharpe, Maciej Kałuża, and Peter Francev. (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2020), 488 pp., $180, ISBN: 9789004401747 (hardback)

Yan Hamel, En Randonnée avec Simone de Beauvoir. Boréal, Montréal, Canada, 2020. Can $25,95.

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Robert Leroux

Abstract

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.

Résumé

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.

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Concerning Durkheim's 1899 Lecture ‘On Penal Sanctions’

Introduction, Translation Notes, and Comments

Ronjon Paul Datta and François Pizarro Noël

Abstract

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.

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Durkheim en réunion (1ère partie)

Ses interventions à l'Assemblée des professeurs de la Faculté de Lettres de Bordeaux (1887–1902)

Matthieu Béra

Abstract

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).

Résumé

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.

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Antoine Savoye

Abstract

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.

Résumé

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.

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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.

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Jean-Christophe Marcel, Matthieu Béra, Jean-François Bert, and François Pizarro Noël

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From Perception to Action

Sartre's Practical Phenomenology

Blake D. Scott

Abstract

This paper re-examines the well-known problem of how it is possible to have an “intuition of absences” in Sartre's example of Pierre. I argue that this problem is symptomatic of an overly theoretical interpretation of Sartre's use of intentionality. First, I review Husserl's notion of evidence within his phenomenology. Next, I introduce Sartre's Pierre example and highlight some difficulties with interpreting it as a problem of perception. By focusing on Sartre's notion of the project, I argue instead that the problem is better understood at the level of action. In support of this interpretation, I conclude with a brief comparison to the early work of Paul Ricoeur. By borrowing some of Ricoeur's phenomenological vocabulary tailored to action, I reinterpret Sartre's example as a practical problem.