The force of inertia. A Sartrean perspective on resistanceAlthough Sartre’s philosophy of freedom is often considered as a philosophy of resistance, rooted in the experience of the Second World War, Sartre did not formulate a full-blown theory of resistance. However, his Critique of Dialectical Reason contains a wealth of material that allows a rethinking of the notion of resistance. In much of the literature, this notion is inflated so as to include action, opposition, struggle, exodus and a range of other phenomena. In order to acquire a sharper sense of the specific meaning of resistance, this paper argues, this notion has to be reconnected with its origins in mechanical physics. Sartre’s key concept of inertia provides a starting point for such a theoretical strategy. Although human beings are fundamentally free, they can live their relation to others and to themselves as if they were inert things. From a Sartrean perspective, resistance means making oneself inert in order to be able to persevere and to hold the line in the face of a threat. Resistance occurs at both sides of a struggle, and can take different, asymmetrical forms. The two fundamental modes of sociality Sartre distinguishes, namely the group and the series, offer different types of resistance to opponents.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5117/antw2020.2.002.liev
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,834
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

From In-Itself to Practico-Inert.Kimberly S. Engels - 2018 - Sartre Studies International 24 (1):48-69.
The Line of Resistance.Françoise Proust - 2000 - Hypatia 15 (4):23-37.
The Basis of the Right to Resistance in the Legal Thought of Arthur Kaufmann.José-Antonio Santos - 2009 - Archiv für Rechts- Und Sozialphilosophie 95 (3):352-358.
Under What Grace.Tim Gough - 2008 - Resistance Studies Magazine 1 (1):17-23.
The Line of Resistance1.Françoise Proust - 2000 - Hypatia 15 (4):23-37.
Verzet Als ‘Tegengedrag’ : Over de Bruikbaarheid van Foucaults Begrip van Contre-Conduite.Antoon Braeckman - 2020 - Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 112 (2):77-95.
Imaginative Resistance Without Conflict.Anna Mahtani - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (3):415-429.
Toward a Pedagogy of Dialogical Resistance.C. Rob Foster - 2007 - Paideusis: Journal of the Canadian Philosophy of Education Society 16 (2):15-33.


Added to PP index

Total views
8 ( #956,355 of 2,426,001 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #349,733 of 2,426,001 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes