Despite Sartre's almost proverbial rejection of Freudian psychoanalysis, Jean-Pierre Boulé places the philosopher himself on the couch in a wonderfully detailed and suggestive work. He notes that the fruit of his study may well be "to help us gain a better understanding of Sartre as an embodied sexual being and possibly demonstrate a new way of connecting biography with oeuvre." After analyzing Boulé's argument and considering the psychoanalytic method itself, I address this last claim about relating Sartre's biography and oeuvre, especially in view of the integral role assigned biography in any existentialist theory of history.
Thomas R. Flynn
Thomas R. Flynn
We are celebrating the centennial year of the birth of Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980). His death and the huge funeral cortege that spontaneously gathered on that occasion marked the passing of the last of the philosophical "personalities" of our era. Contrast, for example, his departure, which I did not witness, with that of Michel Foucault, which I did. The latter was acknowledged in a modest ceremony at the door of the Salpêtrière Hospital; his private funeral in the province was even more stark. The two passings exhibit the distinction graphically. Foucault, the most likely candidate to become Sartre's successor as reigning intellectual on the Left Bank, exited the institution that had figured in several of his books attended by a small crowd of a couple hundred, admittedly assembled without public notification, on a damp morning to hear Gilles Deleuze read a brief passage from the preface to The Uses of Pleasure. Describing philosophy as "the critical work that thought brings to bear on itself," the message had an ironically haunting Sartrean ring.
Thomas R. Flynn
After an early dalliance with existentialism, Foucault is assumed to have moved away from the thought of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. As he explained in an interview with Madeline Chapsal: “We had experienced Sartre’s generation as certainly courageous and generous with a passion for life, politics, existence.... But we had discovered some- thing else, another passion: passion for the concept and for what I shall call ‘system.’”1 Of course, the career of that passion for system as well as the structuralist and poststructuralist phases through which it passed is a matter of record. But it is commonly believed that Foucault left Sartrean existentialism far behind during most of his subsequent career.
Thomas R. Flynn
“Dialectical” stands in parentheses because I wish to discuss both authors in terms of a critique of reason as such in addition to specifying the issue in terms of their respective assessments of the dialectic. But I shall first consider how each employs the term “critique.” So my remarks will focus on Critique, Reason and Dialectic in that order. Of course, each topic understandably bleeds into the others. In view of the occasion, I shall conclude with a brief sketch of four milestones along Sartre's way from Being and Nothingness to the Critique.
Thomas R. Flynn and Steven Hendley
Ronald Aronson and Adrian van den Hoven (eds.), We Have Only This Life To Live: The Selected Essays of Jean-Paul Sartre, 1939-1975 Review by Thomas R. Flynn
Sonia Kruks, Simone de Beauvoir and the Politics of Ambiguity Review by Steven Hendley
Sean B. Carroll, Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize Review by Damon Boria
Paul Gyllenhammer, Bruce Baugh, and Thomas R. Flynn
The articles in this section deal with two concepts from Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason analyzed in the work of Tom Flynn. The first is the practico-inert, the materialized result of human activity that can turn that activity against itself, but which can also take on a positive and progressive role in history. It is this progressive role that Paul Gyllenhammer analyzes. Bruce Baugh’s article looks at Flynn’s analyses of how, in the Critique, the “third” mediates group praxis in such a way that it moves from passivity to activity but without fusing into a hyperorganism, and how this decisive shift accounts for “the revolutionary moment.”
Derek K. Heyman, Beata Stawarska, Thomas R. Flynn, and David Detmer
Steven Laycock, Nothingness and Emptiness: A Buddhist Engagement with the Ontology of Jean-Paul Sartre. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001), 240pp. ISBN 0791449106, $21.95 (paper). Review by Derek K. Heyman
Stephen Priest, The Subject in Question: Sartre’s Critique of Husserl in the Transcendence of the Ego. New York: Routledge, 2000, 192 pp. ISBN 041521369X, $105. Review by Beata Stawarska
Ronald Aronson, Camus and Sartre: The Story of Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004, 248 pp. ISBN 0226027691, $32.50. Review by Thomas R. Flynn
Ronald E. Santoni, Sartre on Violence: Curiously Ambivalent. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003, 179pp. ISBN 0-271-02300-7, $35.00. Review by David Detmer