For the one hundredth anniversary of Sartre's birth it is fitting to consider some of the ways in which his thought remains relevant to our present concerns and to those of the foreseeable future. In this age of terrorism, most people would perhaps think first of Sartre's writings on political violence. Analytical philosophers, on the other hand, might be more inclined to cite Sartre's early works on such "hot" topics as the emotions and the imagination, not to mention consciousness more generally. And historians of philosophy, mindful of the cyclical nature of philosophical fashions and enthusiasms, might well point to a developing resurgence of interest in phenomenology, and to Sartre's distinctive contributions to that philosophical movement. Indeed, given the astonishing range of Sartre's writings, on everything from art to biography to history to psychology to literary criticism, it is impossible in one short essay to identify every contribution of enduring (or perhaps even permanent) value. Accordingly, I will focus here on just two topics: freedom and education.
Gail Evelyn Linsenbard, An Investigation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Posthumously Published Notebooks for an Ethics. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2000, 170pp. ISBN 0-7734-7793-4, $99.95.
David Detmer and John Ireland
Edited by David Detmer and John Ireland
Debra Jackson, David Detmer, and Kenneth L. Anderson
Jon Stewart, ed., The Debate Between Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1998, 634 pp. ISBN 0-8101-1532-8 (paper). Review by Debra Jackson
Sartre’s Radicalism and Oakeshott’s Conservatism: The Duplicity of Freedom. Anthon Review by David Detmer
Roger Frie, Subjectivity and Intersubjectivity in Modern Philosophy and Psychoanalysis: A Study of Sartre, Binswanger, Lacan, and Habermas. Lanham, MD, Boulder, New York and London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1997, 227 pp., ISBN 0-8476-8415-6, $57.50 (cloth). Review by Kenneth L. Anderson
Stefan Bird-Pollan, David Detmer, and Elizabeth Butterfield
The Lived Experience of Existence: Fanon between Theory and Meta-Theory Review by Stefan Bird-Pollan
Farhang Erfhani, Aesthetics of Autonomy: Ricoeur and Sartre on Emancipation, Authenticity, and Selfhood Review by David Detmer
Jennifer Ang Mei Sze, Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism Review by Elizabeth Butterfield
Derek K. Heyman, Beata Stawarska, Thomas R. Flynn, and David Detmer
Steven Laycock, Nothingness and Emptiness: A Buddhist Engagement with the Ontology of Jean-Paul Sartre. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001), 240pp. ISBN 0791449106, $21.95 (paper). Review by Derek K. Heyman
Stephen Priest, The Subject in Question: Sartre’s Critique of Husserl in the Transcendence of the Ego. New York: Routledge, 2000, 192 pp. ISBN 041521369X, $105. Review by Beata Stawarska
Ronald Aronson, Camus and Sartre: The Story of Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004, 248 pp. ISBN 0226027691, $32.50. Review by Thomas R. Flynn
Ronald E. Santoni, Sartre on Violence: Curiously Ambivalent. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003, 179pp. ISBN 0-271-02300-7, $35.00. Review by David Detmer
Peter Jones, Michael Butler, Taylor Smith, Matthew C. Eshleman, and David Detmer
Three articles analyze David Detmer’s first book on Sartre, Freedom as a Value. Peter Jones argues that Sartre uses freedom in only one sense, as freedom to choose, whereas Detmer argues that Sartre distinguishes between freedom of choice (“ontological freedom”) and freedom of obtaining (“practical freedom”). Michael Butler’s paper contends that under a Sartrean framework, any moral judgment we make regarding our own action is never final; the meaning and moral value of our past actions always remains reinterpretable in light of what unfolds in the future. Our interactions with other people reveal that we are responsible for far more than we had initially supposed ourselves to be choosing when we began our project, such that it is in fact impossible to ever finish taking responsibility completely. Taylor Smith and Matthew Eshleman tackle Sartre’s supposed “subjectivism” from the opposite angle. They agree with Detmer that Sartre’s belief that values are mind-dependent does not necessarily entail ethical subjectivism, but argue that even the early Sartre was more fully committed to a cognitivist view of normative justification than Detmer allows. Detmer’s replies to all three essays round out this section and this issue.