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Les emprunts de Mauss à la bibliothèque universitaire de Bordeaux

la genèse d’une « imagination sociologique »

Nicolas Sembel

Mauss was a student at Bordeaux between 1890 and 1895, and this discussion of his university library loans directly complements an earlier article on those of Durkheim, who taught there from 1897 to 1902. Mauss worked hand in glove with his uncle, and although the profiles of their library use were quite different, all the material borrowed by Mauss was closely related with material amongst Durkheim’s loans. Archival evidence brings out how Mauss prepared for the agrégation in philosophy in a way that went well beyond the examination itself, indeed, that in effect transcended philosophy, and that included a year at the Sorbonne that was crucial for the future. If Durkheim showed a methodological imagination – drawing on a variety of disciplines, albeit largely through a ‘hidden’ reading of uncited references – in order to elaborate a sociological approach for his time, Mauss showed a sociological imagination in an effort, in parallel with his academic commitments, to develop his uncle’s work straightaway. Their close collaboration with one another during this period is a platform for reconsidering the nature, up to 1914, of the intellectual link between Mauss and Durkheim, as two sociologists who were above all separated by a ‘chronological’ gap, who occupied two different positions that, while helping to explain disagreement, made possible their project of disciplinary ‘conquest’ begun at Bordeaux, and who, lastly, produced the same general sociology based on two related approaches. My conclusion returns to their Bordeaux ‘moment’ and the veritable symbolic blitzkrieg they conducted there.

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Tomaz Carlos Flores Jacques

African philosophy, as a negritude, is a moment in the postcolonial critique of European/Western colonialism and the bodies of knowledge that sustained it. Yet a critical analysis of its' original articulations reveals the limits of this critique and more broadly of postcolonial studies, while also pointing towards more radical theoretical possibilities within African philosophy. Jean-Paul Sartre's essay 'Black Orpheus', a philosophical appropriation of negritude poetry, serves as a guide for this reflection, for the text reveals the inspiration and wealth of expressions of negritude, as well as their ambiguity. Sartre's essay however also renders possible a further act of re-appropriation that takes us beyond culture and identity-centred readings of African philosophy and postcolonialism, readings whose conceptual and critical potential is far greater than what has hitherto been explored.

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Brian Seitz

The impetus for exploring the relationship between Sartre and Foucault may be informed more by Foucault than by Sartre, as it would seem to be geared toward a Foucauldian determination of the discursive parameters of a particular dimension of modern philosophy; that is, of the history of philosophy, including, by extension, the history of existentialism. But insofar as this determination opens up a significant dimension of the situation of philosophy today - of our situation and of the situation of existentialism - it is also Sartrean in nature, as are the effects of this determination, a determination situated somewhere between Sartre's philosophy of freedom and the freedom afforded to Foucault and to us all by the practice of philosophy, and by its future possibilities, which include the possibility "… that I do not believe a word, not one little word, of all I've just scribbled."

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« Par la porte étroite de la pédagogie »

Émile Durkheim ou de l'éducation

Jean-Louis Fabiani

This presentation is an invitation to reconsider the importance of Durkheim's lectures on educational systems and pedagogy. Although pedagogy and the 'science of education' were the only way of starting a university career when sociology did not exist as an institutionalized discipline, one should not limit Durkheim's effort to academic strategy. Texts on education are central in the definition of morality, but they may also be viewed as a bench test for developing historical sociology, for introducing new notions (particularly concerning the inertia of a social system) or for refining key concepts (density, corporation, mobility).

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Adrian van den Hoven

In this hilarious satire Sartre takes aim at the French bourgeois press, pokes fun at Beckett, Camus and especially his own philosophy. He creates a fictitious swindler Georges de Valera who assumes the identity of a so-called defector Nekrassov. Together with Sibilot, who is in charge of the anticommunist page at Soir à Paris, they bamboozle the editor Palotin (based on Pierre Lazareff) and the entire board into beleiving that Nekrassov is the Soviet Minister of the Interior who has just defected. The bourgeois are portrayed as gullible mediocrities who in the name of anticommunism are willing to believe “anything” Nekrassov tells them. In the end the “genius” Nekrassov absconds with Sibilot's daughter and the paper is forced to print yet more lies to explain his disappearance. The play is composed of eight tableaux that illustrate Sartre's talents as a comic writer. The play was not a commercial success. The critics panned it and the public was unwilling to believe that all defectors from the U.S.S.R. were fakes. Also, soon after the play was produced the anticommunist hysteria began to diminish and the Hungarian uprising put paid to any notion of a benign Soviet union.

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Gail Linsenbard

There has been much discussion concerning whether or not some of Sartre's views on morality may be understood as endorsing Kant's views. Perhaps the most controversial issue has been whether in various places in his corpus Sartre invokes Kant's “universalizability principle.” Indeed, Sartre's frequent use of Kantian language, including the idea of universalizability and “kingdom of ends,” strongly suggests that there is some appreciable convergence between his views and those of Kant. While it is true that Sartre borrows Kant's language and expressions, he does not, I argue, use them in the same sense as Kant does.

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Lior Levy

The article advances an interpretation of the self as an imaginary object. Focusing on the relationship between selfhood and memory in Sartre's The Transcendence of the Ego, I argue that Sartre offers useful resources for thinking about the self in terms of narratives. Against interpretations that hold that the ego misrepresents consciousness or distorts it, I argue that the constitution of the ego marks a radical transformation of the conscious field. To prove this point, I turn to the role of reflection and memory in the creation of the self. Reflection and memory weave past, present and future into a consistent and meaningful life story. This story is no other than the self. I propose to understand the self as a fictional or imaginary entity, albeit one that has real presence in human life.

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John F. Whitmire

Sartre's Les Mots has given rise to widely divergent competing readings in the philosophical literature, which tend to view it either as a simple continuation of his earlier, radical libertarianism, or as part of an alleged wholesale renunciation of the position we find in his early texts. I argue that most of these readings ignore the very real tensions in Words between the freedom of consciousness and the weight of circumstances. I further argue that Les Mots is a performative text whose double writing (originally composed 1954-1957; rewritten 1963) demonstrates for us that, whereas we cannot simply renounce our past and the original meanings mediated to us in childhood through our families, we do have the power to take it up in ways that skew those meanings in somewhat different directions. No matter what we do, however, the blurred outlines of those original meanings will always remain.

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Revisiting Existential Marxism

A Reply to Alfred Betschart

Ronald Aronson

Philosophy of Our Time.” 1 I believe the important argument today is not about whether we can prove that Sartre ever became a full-fledged Marxist, but rather about the political and philosophical possibility, and importance today, of existentialist Marxism

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Sarah Horton and Adrian van den Hoven

Daniel O'Shiel, Sartre and Magic: Being, Emotion, and Philosophy (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), 198 pp., $79.80, ISBN: 978-1-3500-7766-9 (hardback). Magic “flouts the laws of nature” (1) by interrupting the causal determinism that governs