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Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You

Sartre on Pure Reflection in Response to Husserl & Levinas

Curtis Sommerlatte

Abstract

This paper examines how Sartre's early phenomenological works were influenced by Emmanuel Levinas's The Theory of Intuition in Husserl's Phenomenology. Sartre embraced two key aspects of Levinas's interpretation of Husserl: 1) that phenomenology is an ontological philosophy whose foundation is the doctrine of intentionality; and, 2) that consciousness's being consists in intentionality, which entails that consciousness is non-substantial as well as pre-reflectively or non-thetically aware of itself. In addition to adopting these views, Sartre also became gripped by a methodological problem raised by Levinas. Namely, phenomenology reflects on consciousness, yet reflection modifies the consciousness it reflects on. I argue that Sartre responds to this problem by developing two of Levinas's ideas: that reflection is a motivated act and that reflection must adequately grasp consciousness's temporality.

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Ronald E. Santoni

Abstract

I have two aims: to analyze Jonathan Webber's analysis of bad faith and compare it to my own, traditional, account and to show that Webber's focus on character, as a set of dispositions or character traits that incline but do not determine us to view the world and behave in certain ways, contributes further to understanding Sartre's ‘bad faith’. Most Sartre scholars have ignored any emphasis on ‘character’. What is distinctive and emphatic in Webber's interpretation is his insistence ‘on bad faith’ as a ‘social disease’ distorting the way one views, interprets, and even thinks about the world. (Matt Eshleman also moves in this direction). But, again, this pattern is not deterministic. Early in his work, Webber tells us that Sartre does not claim that we have bad faith by ‘ascribing character traits where there are none but by pretending to ourselves that we have ‘fixed natures’ that e.g. preclude the behaviour or character trait of which one is being accused.

Though hardly disagreeing radically with Webber (or he with me) I do offer critical considerations. While Webber focuses on character, I focus on Sartre's contention that the ‘most basic’ or ‘first act’ of bad faith is ‘to flee from what [the human being] cannot flee, from what it is’, specifically human freedom. And I disagree partially with Webber's articulation of the ‘spirit of seriousness’, and strongly with both Sartre's and his supporting claim that bad faith cannot be cynical. I also demur from Webber's overemphasis on the ‘social’. For me, the root of all bad faith is our primitive ontological condition; namely, that at its very ‘upsurge’, human reality, anguished by its ‘reflective apprehension’ of its freedom and lack of Being, is disposed to flee from its nothingness in pursuit of identity, substantiality - in short, Being.

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Liesbeth Schoonheim

Kate Kirkpatrick, Becoming Beauvoir: A Life (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), xiv +476 pp. ISBN: 9781–350–04717–4

Simone de Beauvoir, Diary of a Philosophy Student: Volume 2, 1928–29. The Beauvoir Series. Edited by Barbara Klaw, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, Margaret Simons, and Marybeth Timmerman; translated by Barbara Klaw; series edited by Margaret Simons and Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2019), xii +374 pp. ISBN: 978–0-252–04254–6

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Kyle Michael James Shuttleworth and Nik Farrell Fox

George Pattison and Kate Kirkpatrick, The Mystical Sources of Existentialist Thought: Being, Nothingness, Love (New York: Routledge, 2019) 228 pp., ISBN-13: 978-1138092372 (hardback)

Oliver Davis and Colin Davis, eds, Freedom and the Subject of Theory: Essays in Honour of Christina Howells (Cambridge: Legenda, 2019) vii +216 pp. ISBN: 978-178188-7332 (hardback)

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Decolonizing “La Brousse

Rural Medicine and Colonial Authority in Cameroon

Sarah C. Runcie

Abstract

This article examines French responses to transnational influences on medical education and rural health in Cameroon in the era of decolonization. As international organizations became increasingly involved in Cameroon in the postwar period, French military doctors claimed authority through specific expertise on medicine in the African “bush.” After Cameroon became independent, however, the building of new medical school became a focus of French anxieties about maintaining power in new African institutions of technical expertise and knowledge production. While scholars have begun to foreground the international context of Franco-African relations after independence, this article reveals how the distinct politics of Cameroon's decolonization, growing out of its history as a United Nations (UN) trust territory, shaped French approaches to medical institutions there. Moreover, negotiations over the future of rural medicine in Cameroon highlighted the ways in which the approaches championed by French doctors relied on colonial authority itself.

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John Gillespie and Katherine Morris

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Frédéric Viguier

Abstract

Since independence in 1956, Morocco has actively promoted Arabic and Arab culture through successive waves of “Arabization” policies in its educational system. Yet, French educational diplomas continue to be crucial resources in Morocco, while national Moroccan degrees retain little social and economic currency. Relying on ethnographic fieldwork in Morocco carried out in 2018, this article looks at students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, asks how the grip of French education seventy years after Moroccan independence is experienced on the ground, and provides historical context to account for this situation. It argues that Morocco is an extreme but representative example of how former French colonies—and countries in the Global South—have created new forms of dependence due to their attempts to expand access to education on limited budgets.

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The French Empire Goes to San Francisco

The Founding of the United Nations and the Limits of Colonial Reform

Jessica Lynne Pearson

Abstract

This article explores the French delegation's approach to debates about colonial oversight and accountability that took place at the Conference on International Organization in San Francisco in 1945, where delegates from fifty nations gathered to draft the United Nations (UN) Charter. Drawing on documents from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN, and the American press, it argues that while French officials at home and in the empire were eagerly negotiating a new French Union that would put metropolitan France and the colonies on unprecedently equal footing, French delegates to the San Francisco conference were unwilling to take a stand for these reforms-in-progress. Ultimately, French delegates to the conference lacked confidence that the incipient French Union would stand up to international scrutiny as these delegates worked to establish new international standards for what constituted “self-government.”

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Matthew C. Eshleman

Abstract

This article surveys most of the recent reviews of Sarah Richmond's excellent new translation of L'Être et le néant. It offers some close textual comparisons between Richmond's translation, Hazel Barnes’ translation, and the Checklist of Errors of Hazel Barnes’ Translation of L'Être et le néant. This article concludes that Richmond delivers a higher semantic resolution translation that overcomes nearly all the liabilities found in Barnes and does so without sacrificing much by way of readability.

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An Indochinese Dominion

L'Effort indochinois and Autonomy in a Global Context, 1936–1939

M. Kathryn Edwards

Abstract

Across the French Empire, the interwar period was critical to the political mobilization that would come to drive the struggles for independence in the post-1945 era. In French Indochina, and especially in its three Vietnamese regions, dynamic debates over reform, modernization, and the colonial relationship with France marked this period. Reformers included integrationists seeking a closer rapport with France, separatists seeking complete independence, and autonomists seeking a middle ground between the two. The advent of the Popular Front in June 1936 acted as a catalyst for reformers of all stripes, who hoped that the new regime would live up to its progressive credentials. This article explores the case for Indochinese autonomy through an analysis of the French-language Vietnamese newspaper L'Effort indochinois, which was founded in October 1936. It explores the domestic and global frameworks of this campaign, and it demonstrates how foreign models of autonomous states like Canada and foreign threats to Indochinese security fundamentally shaped L'Effort's demands for Indochinese autonomy. It further seeks to contribute to the existing scholarship on the diversity of the Vietnamese reformist landscape on the eve of decolonization.