This two-part article examines whether Sartre's final interviews, recorded in L'Espoir maintenant [Hope Now], indicate a final turn to belief through an overview of his engagement with the idea of God throughout his career. In Part 1 we examine Sartre's early atheism, but note the pervasive nature of secularised Christian metaphors and concepts in his religion of letters and the centrality of man's desire to be God in Being and Nothingness. His theoretical writings seek to refute the idea of God, but in doing so God is paradoxically both absent and present. In Part 2 we assess his anti-theism and consider his final encounter with theism in L'Espoir maintenant, arguing that it is part of Sartre's long-term engagement with the idea of God.
John H. Gillespie
John H. Gillespie
These two articles examine whether Sartre's final interviews, recorded in L'Espoir maintenant (Hope Now) indicate a final turn to God and religious belief through an overview of his engagement with the idea of God throughout his career. Part 1, published in Sartre Studies International 19, no. 1, examined Sartre's early atheism, but noted the pervasive nature of secularised Christian metaphors and concepts in his religion of letters and also the centrality of mankind's desire to be God in L'Etre et le néant (Being and Nothingness). Sartre's theoretical writings sought to refute the idea of God, but in doing so, made God paradoxically both absent and present. Part 2 considers Sartre's anti-theism and its implications for his involvement with the idea of God before examining in detail his final encounter with theism as outlined in L'Espoir maintenant, arguing that it is part of Sartre's long-term engagement with the divine, but refuting the idea that he became a theist at the end of his life.
Nature, God as radical Otherness, and God as absolute Value—all of which have not been fully recognised until now. On the back of this I will show, thirdly, that because God in a more theoretical—which is to say philosophical, theological or otherwise
Matthew C. Eshleman
This essay argues that an adequate account of bad faith cannot be given without taking the second half of Being and Nothingness into consideration. There are two separate but related reasons for this. First, the objectifying gaze of Others provides a necessary condition for the possibility of bad faith. Sartre, however, does not formally introduce analysis of Others until Parts III and IV. Second, upon the introduction of Others, Sartre revises his view of absolute freedom. Sartre's considered view of freedom helps to make sense out of bad faith in a way that does not seem possible were freedom absolute.
The Benefits and Burdens of History
Marx called France the political nation par excellence, as contrasted to economic England and philosophical Germany. But Marx arrived at his mature theory only after a stern critique of a “merely political” view of revolution. And some of his most important insights are developed in analyses of the failures of revolution in France. While Marx’s observation is insightful, the theoretical conclusions he drew from it are problematic. The monarchy in France was not absolute because it was all-powerful or arbitrary; its power came from the means by which it dominated all spheres of life, transforming an administrative and territorial entity into a political nation. In the wake of the Revolution, the republican tradition became equally absolute; it came to define what the French mean by the political (a concept whose use differs from what “Anglo-Saxons” define as politics).
To talk about Sartre and literature in the 1960s is to talk about a range of disparate things: at the beginning of the decade stands the farewell to Literature, the myth of literature, enshrined in the autobiographical Les Mots. At the end is the critical dissection of the myth of literature as an absolute in the third volume of L’Idiot de la famille, in a farewell of another kind. As far as Sartre is concerned, then, this was a decade framed by highly public, but also highly ambiguous, statements about literature, ambiguous by their very literariness. Statements which are undoubtedly intensified by the ideological role of literature in the constitution of the figure of the intellectual.
The Cultura Project
Globalization requires the ability to work and interact with people of many different nationalities and cultures. Such interaction further involves the ability to communicate more effectively across these different cultures, whatever one’s field or discipline. This implies the absolute necessity for all of us to understand the languages, values and attitudes of other cultures so that misunderstandings and misconceptions are reduced. The events of September 11 greatly increased the public’s awareness of this issue. As a professor of linguistics wrote in the New York Times shortly thereafter, we need to “understand the words of our enemies—not to mention those of our friends.”1 The Cultura project seeks precisely to develop in-depth understanding of a foreign culture, by first looking at specific words that will provide access to the heart and core of another culture.
Irwin M. Wall
The French elections of 2012 resulted in an unprecedented and overwhelming victory by France's Socialist Party, which gained control of the presidency and an absolute majority in the National Assembly to go with the party's existing domination of most of France's regions and municipalities. But the Socialist Party remains a minority party in the French electoral body politic, its victory the result of a skewered two-ballot electoral system. The Socialist government, moreover, remains hampered in its action by its obligations toward the European Union and its participation in the zone of countries using the Euro as it attempts to deal with France's economic crisis. As a consequence of both of these phenomena the government may also be sitting atop a profound political crisis characterized by the alienation of a good part of the electorate from the political system.
John H. Gillespie
. There is no ‘témoin absolu’ [absolute witness]. Individuals may try to look at themselves from the outside, but this is impossible; one must engage one’s understanding in one’s time and act historically and fully within it: ‘Dieu est encore présent dans
. Consciousness is ‘for-itself’ because it is intentional; it is always consciousness of something, and it is empty apart from the object that it aims at. ‘Being-in-itself’, in contrast, is absolute and self-identical. It roughly refers to the existence of non