In this paper I examine the role of emotions in the initial development of self-awareness through intersubjective communication between mother and infant. I argue that the empirical evidence suggests that the infant's ability to communicate is initially an ability of the infant to share emotions with the mother. In section one I examine the biological foundations that allow infants from birth to interact with others of their own kind, focusing on the abilities which allow them to engage in emotional relationships with others. These include an infant's ability to express, share, and regulate emotions as well as her brain's ability to imitate the neuronal activity of another. In section two, I explore the fit between Sartre's phenomenologically-based account of intersubjectivity in Being and Nothingness and the accounts from psychology and neuroscience that I've examined in section one, focusing on his phenomenology of the Look and the emotional response he claims it elicits. In section three I examine the explanatory gap objection that Sartre among others could raise to my attempt to understand phenomenological accounts of human reality and scientific ones in light of each other. I don't have any final answer to this objection, but I offer some thoughts on why I think it's less of a problem than it might first appear to be.
Jean-Paul Sartre's account of the Look in Being and Nothingness is not straightforward and many conflicting interpretations have arisen due to apparent contradictions in Sartre's own writing. The Look, for Sartre, demonstrates how the self gains thematic awareness of the body, forming a public and self-conscious sense of how the body appears to others and, furthermore, illustrates affective and social aspects of embodied being. In this article, I will critically explore Sartre's oft-cited voyeur vignette in order to provide a coherent account of the Look and to illustrate the significance of intersubjectivity and self-consciousness in Sartre's work. Through considering Sartre's voyeur vignette and other examples of reflective self-consciousness, this article will examine epistemological, self-evaluative and ontological concerns in the constitution of reflective self-consciousness. It will be contended that Sartre's accounts of the Look and reflective self-consciousness within social relations can provide insight into the intersubjective nature of the shaping of the body and the significance of self-presentation within the social realm.
This issue of Critical Survey seeks to affirm the importance of contemporary poetry. For poetry can make something ‘happen’ – in the sphere of intersubjective awareness, of intelligence, of general ideology. That is not ‘nothing’. As guest editor, I am grateful to academic colleagues and featured poets alike for making this edition possible. The focus here is on British poetry written by men. Although the articles do not engage directly with a recent interest in ‘Masculinities’, it is implicit that poetic exploration of what it is to be gendered male is an important issue.
Thoughts on Sartre, Lacan, and Contemporary Psychoanalysis
understand language as practico-inert. We must also make a place for speech and other human world-making activity as praxis. If we are going to emphasize intersubjectivity, which Sartre like the postmodernists thinks we must do, it must be an
Sexual Performativity and Gender Dissidence in Dickens's Dombey and Son
This essay considers some of the implications of a critical turn from a concern with a 'political technology of the body' in the Foucauldian sense to one with embodied micropractices. I will contend here that a critique of social experiences that is conceptualised through attention to individualised, or intersubjective, corporeal practices, is necessarily limited. A critical focus on the affective or performative self potentially colludes with a political agenda that privileges the bourgeois concept of individuality over that of collectivity, and performative micropractices over the transformation of social relationships on a structural level. This article approaches these issues by investigating two forms of sexual deviance, enacted by the figures of Paul and Edith Dombey, in Dombey and Son - a text that explores the problematic of nineteenthcentury gender-specific discipline and resistance, but also a narrative that points to the conceptual limitations resulting from individualised notions of embodiment and embodied resistance. I will suggest that this novel codes Paul and Edith's resistance to Dombey's regime of gender-discipline as specifically physical and sexualised forms of deviance.
Drowning and Prosopopæia in Later Dickens
The way in which the judgements of the landmark 1860 case Rylands v. Fletcher employed the English language to attempt some kind of clear notion of liability is representative of a much wider cultural anxiety over the status of water as a live, conscious and capriciously dangerous agent. I will suggest that the Victorians' emergent fear of wild and live water represents a kind of cultural imaginary that predetermines Dickens's use of prosopopoeic figurative language. The novels that I will draw upon, principally David Copperfield and Our Mutual Friend, both take the trope of drowning as their focal rhetoric. Because the idea of water being embodied as a feral animal emerged around the 1850s, I will deploy some of Dickens's earlier work that uses the same trope of drowning, but in a more simplified way which envisioned water as the passive recipient of the drownee. As a result of the cultural idea of a live and conscious water, Dickens's later novels and journalism can be seen to be exploring an inherently queer notion of intersubjectivity; as the drownee meets their fate, their body's boundaries become permeable, they and the water which 'takes' them become intermingled. The water takes their life and it dissolves their identity. Dickens's later work and Rylands v. Fletcher both play their part in articulating this wider cultural anxiety and phenomenological presence of water as live monstrosity. Moreover, Dickens's use of water as embodied, raging and stampeding agent, raises some fascinating questions surrounding the taboo nature of gender, sexuality and subjectivity in Victorian culture.
Julie Van der Wielen
Sartre's analysis of intersubjective relations through his concept of the look seems unable to give an account of intersubjectivity. By distinguishing the look as an ontological conflict from our relation with others in experience, we will see that actually intersubjectivity is not incompatible with this theory. Furthermore, we will see that the ontological conflict with the Other always erupts in experience in the form of an emotion, and thus always involves magic, and we will look into what the presence of the Other adds to such emotion. Emotions I have in front of the Other are directed toward my being-for-others, which escapes me by definition. This has a peculiar consequence when the imaginary is involved, which could help explain complexes such as narcissism and paranoia.
Jennifer Ang Mei Sze
Sartrean ontological intersubjectivity is often understood to be hostile and conflictive, and Sartrean dialectics is repeatedly interpreted through the lenses of the Hegelian master-slave dyad, translating into a conflictive theory of practical ensembles. Building on this, critics in the aftermath of 9/11 argued that 'terror' and 'revolutionary violence' introduced in Critique of Dialectical Reason as the anti-thesis of oppression underscored his anti-colonial writings and this gives us justification to think that Sartre might consider terrorism a form of revolutionary violence.
With this in mind, this paper does not deal with the bigger issue of Sartre's political position, but only aims to question the basis of reading Hegelian dialectics in Sartre's ontology of intersubjectivity and social ensembles. Revisiting the role of dialectics in his Search for a Method and Critique of Dialectical Reason, it reveals a Sartre who is critical of Hegelian dialectics, and establishes his intersubjectivity as more compatible with Heidegger's being-with-others rather than Hegel's being-for-others.
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
Modern Pilgrimage and the Expression of Suffering on Spain's Camino de Santiago
This article examines the experiences of walkers along the Spanish Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. It explores their journeys as exercises in narrative adjustment, social practices, and somatic experiences of a crippling loss of control over the course of their lives. Using a phenomenological method of descriptions, the article argues that mobility is a trope that expresses existential issues in a bodily idiom. It draws attention to the value of inter-subjective experience as a potential source of existential mobility, one that finds metaphorical expression in the slow daily rhythms structuring pilgrims' journeys and that impacts on the researcher as much as the pilgrims.