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Sam Coombes

The transition made by Sartre to an increasingly political brand of commitment after the Liberation proved to be one of the most challenging and difficult transitions of his career. L’Etre et le néant had been taken by many, both followers and critics alike, to be the fullest exposition of his world-view, but the type of commitment Sartre spoke of in this work did not seem to be an obvious candidate for reconciliation with a radical political agenda.

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Sam Coombes

As Paul Ricœur notes in L’Idéologie et l’utopie, the ascription of the characteristic of being ‘ideological’ to a set of ideas has traditionally had pejorative implications. One’s own ideas are not ideological, only those of one’s adversaries.1 The philosophical and critical writings of the early Sartre do not offer an explicit discussion of the concept of ideology. Even in Cahiers pour une morale, notable for the evidence they provide of Sartre’s increasing rapprochement with Marxism, ideology per se is never Sartre’s centre of interest.