other words, human freedom precedes human essence and makes it possible. Or, as I recall Barnes’ translation, ‘the human being's essence lies suspended in his [or her] freedom’. In this regard, one must note carefully that for Sartre ‘man is always
An Appreciation and Critique
Ronald E. Santoni
Michael J. Monahan
In his Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre argues that it is the milieu of scarcity that generates human conflict. His account of scarcity is rather ambiguous however, and at points he seems to claim that conflict is inevitable given the context of scarcity. In this article I provide a brief account of Sartre's position, and offer a critical evaluation of that position. Finally, I argue that Sartre's claims regarding the necessity of conflict are excessive, and that the resources provided in the Critique offer a means to re-evaluate our relationship to scarcity.
A Dialectic on Freedom
highlighted in her work, 3 and in particular we can derive from The Second Sex a coherent and enlightening account of human freedom. On the last page of the conclusion to The Second Sex , de Beauvoir cites the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts (1844
Daniel L. Tate
According to Harries, ‘Sartre ... has to reject whatever belongs to facticity as binding my freedom in an essential way.’1 Indeed, he argues that Sartre’s commitment to such a radical freedom results in a profound misinterpretation of the human condition that places consciousness at odds with its own embodiment, ultimately demonising the sensuous. This misinterpretation is exacerbated by Sartre’s insistence that human freedom is destined to the futile task of producing the missing synthesis of consciousness and being, a destiny that sends consciousness on the impossible quest of providing its own foundation.
Human freedom resides primarily in exercise of that capacity that humans employ more abundantly than any other species on earth: the capacity for judgement. And in particular: that special judgement in relation to Self that we call aspiration. Freedom is not the absence of a field of (other) powers; instead, freedom shows up only against the reticulations of power impinging from without. For freedom worthy of the name must be construed as an exercise of power within an already-present field of power. Thus, liberty and causal necessity are not obverses.
Oligarchic Corporations and New State Formations
Current configurations of global, imperial, and state power relate to formations of oligarchic control. A major feature of this is the command of political organizations and institutions by close-knit social groups (families or familial dynasties, groups of kin, closed associations, or tightly controlled interlinked networks of persons) for the purpose of the relatively exclusive control of economic resources and their distribution, these resources being vital to the existence of larger populations. For many theorists, the state, throughout history and in its numerous manifestations, was born in such processes and continues to be so. Moreover, the oppressive powers of state systems (e.g., the denial or constraining of human freedoms, the production of poverty and class inequalities) and the expansion of these in imperial form are a consequence of oligarchic forces.
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.
Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity , London, Penguin, 2012, ISBN 978-0-1410-3464-5, 1056 pp., £14.99 John Gray, The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom , London, Penguin, 2015
Muslim Mu‘tazilite Theology Confronted by Manichean Iranian Thought
suffering are not commonplace in medieval Islamic thought. However, the work of Cheikh Bouamrane on human freedom in Mu‘tazilite thinking devotes a section to this question ( Bouamrane 1978: 158–160 ). Indeed, rich and intense debates took place during the
A Defense of Lacanian Responsibility
author of an event or of an object,” 7 which in this case would be the ego itself. First of all, I concede the point that Lacan’s theory doesn’t provide an explicit and comprehensive account of human freedom in the same way that Sartre does. Indeed, when