Since Kant, modern philosophy has reacted critically and most often dismissively to any theories or inquiries deemed “metaphysical.” The Critique of Pure Reason shows that although human beings naturally seek knowledge of things that are beyond the limits of all possible experience (i.e., metaphysical knowledge), the categories by means of which we are capable of knowledge are all restricted in their legitimate application to objects of possible experience.
This essay compares Sartre's existential psychoanalysis with Freud's psychoanalysis and Binswanger's Daseinsanalysis. On the one hand, Sartre's psychoanalysis, despite the pure phenomenological interpretation of the factical self (in the first part of Being and Nothingness), is ultimately metaphysically founded on the concept of 'human reality' (in the fourth part of the book), so that this psychoanalysis cannot be identified with the way of interpreting existence in the Daseinsanalyse. On the other hand, Sartre's phenomenological interpretation of the factical self implies that Freud's analysis of psychical phenomena is false, because the self 'is strictly to the degree that it signifies' (Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions) and is 'coextensive with consciousness' (Being and Nothingness).
An ontological need persisted in the writing of Ted Hughes, and continues in critical responses to it. This has manifested itself in various forms: Leonard Scijay detects a ‘mystical consciousness of the oneness of Creation’; in his recent book The Laughter of Foxes: A Study of Ted Hughes, Keith Sagar eulogises the ‘inner being’ of the poet. Although different, these descriptions share a vague appreciation of Hughesian ‘Being’ (or ‘Existenz’): Scijay has located it more specifically in Eastern metaphysics, Zen, and the Japanese concept of satori (the ‘totalistic unity with the infinite’). Critics have mostly agreed that Hughes does not adhere to an existentialist rewriting of Existenz, but they have not always responded generously to the various depictions of Being: Eric Homberger detects the Nazi conception of Rausch in the poet’s ‘fascistic exaltation of violence for its own sake’. More recently, critics more sympathetic to Hughes have attempted to locate Existenz elsewhere. Dwight Eddins recognises der Wille in the ‘universal force-field’ confronted in the poetry; Joanny Moulin uncovers the moments in which the narrators experience the imprint of the Lacanian ‘real’ in empirical reality. All these different critical perspectives have provided valuable insights into Hughes’s writing: it cannot be denied that the vigour of his work arises partly from its engagement with metaphysics of presence. Perhaps what could be added to this body of criticism is a critique of ontology itself. The possibility remains that a requirement persists in Hughes’s poetry to locate a form of Being that has been invented in order to find it. In Negative Dialectics Theodor Adorno describes such an ontological need as a manifestation of ‘peephole metaphysics’.
Sartre's reading of Harald Höffding's works was instrumental in his critical reception of Spinoza. One may find traces of Höffding's critical monism in Sartre's Being and Nothingness. Höffding had formulated his critical monism in order to remedy what he perceived to be problems in Spinoza's view. Sartre's critique of Spinoza aligns with that of Höffding. Moreover, Höffding's influence on Sartre goes well beyond the reception of Spinoza. Indeed, the young Sartre's interest in Bergson, psychology and questions relative to the totality of Being could have followed from his reading of Höffding. In fact, the way in which Höffding tackles questions about the soul, the world, and God illuminates the timid proposals offered by Sartre in the conclusion of Thus, understanding Höffding
French Cet article démontrera que la réception critique de Spinoza par Sartre est influencée par sa lecture des oeuvres de Harald Höffding. Une lecture attentive permet d'identifier des traces du monisme critique de celui-ci dans L'être et le néant. Ce monisme critique avait été formulé afin de pallier aux problèmes perçus par Höffding chez Spinoza. Or, cette même critique se retrouve chez Sartre. De plus, cet article fera aussi la démonstration que l'influence de Höffding sur Sartre va au-delà de la réception de Spinoza. En effet, l'intérêt du jeune Sartre pour Bergson, la psychologie et les questions relatives à la totalité de l'Être pourraient être le résultat de sa lecture de Höffding. En fait, la manière dont Höffding traite des questions de l'âme, du monde et de Dieu éclairent les timides propositions métaphysiques offertes par Sartre en conclusion de L'être et le néant. Par conséquent, bien comprendre Höffding permet de mieux comprendre Sartre.
This article attempts to redress the neglect of Sartre's relationship to Augustine, putting forward a reading of the early Sartre as an atheist who appropriated concepts from Augustinian theology. In particular, it is argued, Sartre owes a debt to the Augustinian doctrine of original sin. Sartre's portrait of human reality in Being and Nothingness is bleak: consciousness is lack; self-knowledge is impossible; and to turn to the human other is to face the imprisonment of an objectifying gaze. But this has recognizable antecedents in Augustine's account of the condition of human fallenness. The article, therefore, (a) demonstrates the significant similarities between Sartre's ontology of human freedom and Augustine's ontology of human sin; and (b) asks whether Sartre's project – as defined in Existentialism Is a Humanism – 'to draw the full conclusions from a consistently atheistic position' – results in a vision of the world without God, but not without sin. It is proposed that this opens the possibility for a previously unexplored theological reading of Sartre's early work.
An Interview with Aimé Césaire
William F.S. Miles
Nineteen eighty-two marked a milestone in the history of Martinique and the career of Aimé Césaire. One year had passed since François Mitterrand's election as president and Césaire's declaration of a "moratorium" on challenging the island's status as a French département (state). Pro-independence violence still rocked the French West Indies. In this interview Césaire discusses the burdens of material dependency, dangers of in- and out-migration, centralizing legacies of France, opportunities afforded by Socialist governance, the need for decentralization, and the future of Martinican identity. The interview reveals Césaire's strategic flexibility within inviolate principles, his unique capacity to channel his people's psyche, his keen recognition of the relationship between nationalism and economics, and his sensitivity to micropolitics and intra-island differences.
John H. Gillespie
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
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.
The Concept of Secular Philosophical Grounding
Jaan S. Islam
morally and metaphysically superior to that opposing methodology because if any given ideology, including liberal cosmopolitanism, cannot claim justification in its actions, then any opposition to the theory is at least as morally unjustified as itself