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Sartre at the Twilight of Liberal Democracy as We Have Known It

William L. McBride

From the very beginning of his explicitly political thinking until the end of his life, Jean-Paul Sartre was always cognizant of the fact that the typical electoral system, whether dominated by two or by several "parties," that is to be found in Western countries and that is vaunted as the pinnacle of real democracy amounted to a profound mystification. That is why, at the time of the centenary of his birth, he is owed a renewed respect for his ideas in this area. I do not intend to examine here the evolution of Sartre?s political thought, or even his views with respect to the Eastern European countries, the "socialism" of which, as he eventually discovered, was scarcely more real than their "democracy." Rather, I shall confine myself to recalling certain elements, especially certain iconoclastic elements, of that thought. I shall do so with a view to taking a clear-headed look at a possible future in which those icons will have disappeared.

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Let's Get Rid of Motivation: Sartre's Wisdom

Rivca Gordon

Jean-Paul Sartre is probably the only existentialist who describes in detail, mainly in Being and Nothingness, the problems arising from the concept of 'motivation'. More precisely, Sartre describes a group of notions - motivation is one of them - that reveal the same basic ontological problem. Like these other notions, he states, the concept of 'motivation' ignores the primordial freedom that is central to human existence, that the human being is freedom, that every person is condemned to be free. I acknowledge that there may be a minor linguistic problem with the term 'motivation'. In translations of Sartre, 'motivation' is used, alongside 'motive', to render a number of terms used in the original French, such as 'motif' and 'mobile'. In this essay, however, I relate only to the English term 'motivation', as it is used in contemporary psychological and educational research. In short, in what follows I do not relate to the other possible translations of the French term for motivation, but rather to its accepted scholarly use in English-speaking countries.

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Black Solidarity

A Philosophical Defense

Mabogo P. More

How should black people, indeed any other group of people in general, respond when they are grouped together and oppressed on the basis of the contingency of their physical characteristics? Questions of liberation from oppression involve questions about the means to overcome that oppression. Throughout the ages of struggle against racial oppression, for example, collective black identity and solidarity has been one of the favourite responses and rallying call for racial justice and liberation. In South Africa this response has recently emerged through the formation of a number of highly controversial groups such as: The Native Club, The African Forum, and The Forum for Black Journalists. Critics of these formations think that such black solidarity, divisive, irrational, morally objectionable and, above all, racist. This paper defends the emancipatory racial solidarity tradition, examplified by The Native Club and similar constituted organisations, against such serious charges and critiques mounted by contemporary leading thinkers on identity. The tools for such a defense are primarily derived from Jean-Paul Sartre's conception of group formation in his Critique Of Dialectical Reason. I argue that since anti-black racist consciousness always operates at the level of collectives, it is therefore impossible to fight such racism as an individual; that collective black solidarity is a necessary condition for racial emancipation.

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Motivated Aversion: Non-Thetic Awareness in Bad Faith

Jonathan Webber

Exactly what does Jean-Paul Sartre mean when he describes some conscious awareness as ‘non-thetic’? He does not explicitly say. Yet this phrase, sprinkled liberally throughout his early philosophical works, is germane to some of the distinctive and fundamental theories of Sartrean existentialism. My aim in this paper is to examine the concept in terms of the role that Sartre claims it plays in bad faith (mauvaise foi), the deliberate and motivated project of refusing to face or consider the consequences of some fact or facts. I will argue that non-thetic awareness could play the role Sartre ascribes to it in bad faith only if it is understood as being equivalent to the nonconceptual representational content currently discussed in anglophone philosophy of mind. I will proceed by first providing an initial rough characterisation of ‘non-thetic’ awareness through a discussion of the philosophical background to Sartre’s term, then showing how this rough characterisation needs to be refined in order that bad faith may evade the two paradoxes of self-deception, next drawing the distinction between conceptual and nonconceptual content, and then arguing that non-thetic awareness must be construed as nonconceptual content. This clarification of one of the most pervasive and one of the most obscure concepts in Sartrean existentialism will have the additional ramifications that Sartre’s theory of consciousness in general must be understood as involving both conceptual and nonconceptual structures and that his discussion of the interplay of these structures can provide innovative and valuable contributions to the debates over the role of conceptual and nonconceptual contents in perception and action currently raging in anglophone discussions of mind.

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The Third Man in the Story: Ronald Aronson Discusses the Sartre-Camus Conflict with Francis Jeanson

Basil Kingstone

For over fifty years Francis Jeanson has been one of the world’s exemplary radical thinkers and actors. We Sartreans know him as the author of one of the earliest, and still most insightful, books on Sartre’s philosophy, Le Problème moral et la philosophie de Jean-Paul Sartre [Available in translation. See Sartre and the Problem of Morality, Bloomington, 1980], Sartre par lui-même, and Sartre dans sa vie, as well as of the review of Camus’ L’Homme révolté [The Rebel, New York, 1954] which instigated the Sartre/Camus break. Then came Algeria. As his biographer writes, “His intervention against the Algerian War shapes our collective destiny. Without Francis Jeanson, the resistance of French intellectuals to this colonial war would have been different” (Marie-Pierre Ulluoa, Francis Jeanson: un intellectuel en dissidence [Paris: Berg International, 2001], 244). At the beginning of the insurrection he and his first wife wrote a book about French colonialism and its effects on Algeria. He then organized the Jeanson network, the “porteurs des valises” who hid Algerian activists and deserters from the French army, and raised money for the FLN. In this role he lived underground for several years and was tried and sentenced in absentia to 10 years prison, a sentence which was only commuted at the end of the war. Jeanson was invited to Chalon-sur-Saône to direct its House of Culture and then worked as a philosopher participating in a continuing education program for psychiatrists in a mental hospital. He then returned to a small family house in Claouey, on the Bassin d’Arcachon, where he has continued to write and involve himself in such activities as the France-Sarajevo Association, which has encouraged a multi-ethnic Bosnia.

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Interrogating Sartre and Apartheid

Mabogo Percy More

less research exists on Sartre and apartheid, given that the latter is an outgrowth and continuation of colonialism by other means. 2 It is therefore refreshing to notice that Tal Sela in his “Not a Merely Newsworthy Commodity: Jean-Paul Sartre

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Being-for-itself and the Ontological Structure

Can Being-for-itself Avoid Bad Faith?

Ronald E. Santoni

Recently I have concluded a close examination of some of Jonathan Webber's analysis and critique 1 of Jean-Paul Sartre's pivotal concepts. Overall, I have focused mainly on Webber's innovative interpretation of Sartre on “character”—too often

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Cruel Atheism

Alexis Chabot

Translator : Ârash Aminian Tabrizi

French. I would like to thank warmly Adam Freeman and Alexis Chabot for their help and generous assistance. – Ârash Aminian Tabrizi. 2 Jean-Paul Sartre, Les Mots , in Les Mots et autres écrits autobiographiques (Paris: Gallimard, 2010), 138. 3 Jean-Paul

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Revisiting Existential Marxism

A Reply to Alfred Betschart

Ronald Aronson

occupied with the issue of Sartre's Marxism from the mid-1960s until Verso's publication of my first book, Jean-Paul Sartre - Philosophy in the World (1980). Already in 1978, in Western Marxism: A Critical Reader, New Left Review had published

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‘This Is a Farce’

Sartrean Ethics in History, 1938–1948 – From Kantian Universalism to Derision

Juliette Simont

Translator : Ârash Aminian Tabrizi

examine them. 7 Jean-Paul Sartre, L’Être et le Néant (Paris: Gallimard, [1976] 2014), 475. 8 Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness , trans. Hazel Barnes (London: Routledge, 1969), 431. 9 See Emmanuel Kant, Fondements de la métaphysique de mœurs