Late in his career, Sartre told us that “subjectivity (in Being and Nothingness) is not what it is for me now,” but I do not think that this should be understood as simple rejection. Rather, I think that his notion of the “spiral” best expresses his meaning. The development of his thought progressed through levels of integrating new experience with the past and, in the process, refigured the past. Sartre was, all along, a philosopher protective of subjectivity and freedom, but (...) these notionsunderwent transformation over time, preserved and modified in their surpassing. Sartre’s philosophical itinerary follows the model of the spiral, and in that way, he is his own best commentator. (shrink)
Existentialism has come to be identified as a critical, reactionary way of thinking, celebrating the individual, freedom, embodiment, and the limits of rationality and systematic theorizing. For the most part this assessment is true of the early and, by now, “classical” works of existentialism, those that first burst upon the philosophical and cultural scene. Circulating Being centers on the later works of several well-known French existentialists (Camus, Marcel, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty) to trace out the development of their existential thinking about language, (...) communicative life, ethics, and politics. This development “from embodiment to incorporation” carries existentialism beyond identification with the mere reactionary and reveals how, while prefiguring postmodernism in important ways, the existential thinkers dealt with here reveal themselves to be reconstructive of the Western tradition. This is apparent in the growing appreciation of difference in their late works along with a reluctance to surrender the ideal of unity, and in their reappropriation of truth and justice while repudiating a totalizing metaphysics. (shrink)
The intention of the discussion is twofold: to offer a reading of sartre's entire philosophy based on his reworking of husserl's "epoche", And to apply this reading to his treatment of human relationships. Care is taken to show how an understanding of sartre's use of the reduction illuminates his presentation of human relationships in "being and nothingness" and the later "critique".
As debate continues1 we hope to shed some light on the development of Sartre's thought by returning to his philosophical beginnings, to his phenomenology, confident that it is here, in its origins, that we will find what has always been the very center of his thought.