THE PHILOSOPHY OF JEAN-PAUL SARTRE by Robert-Ed. Cumming

THE PHILOSOPHY OF JEAN-PAUL SARTRE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

I have changed,"" said Sartre recently, ""as everyone changes: within a permanency."" The anti-Hegelian origins of Sartrean existentialism, having reverted over the last decade to a philosophy of history, has with the publication of the Critique entered its absolutist phase. L'Etre et le Neant gave us a phenomenological description of individual freedom; the pour-soi presents a sociology of collective responsibility. The famous Sartrean categories of good and bad faith, of pour-soi and en soi, now appear tenable only within certain ideological or organic laws: a kind of personalized Marxism engendering the ""liberation of man."" For Sartre, nothing intellectually inconsistent is involved; a dialectical thinker, each of his developing stages interacts on the other, just as each literary form (novel, play, essay), each divergent interest (Dos Passos and Genet, Husserl and Heidegger), interconnect and further the Sartrean process. The anthology here, the first such and a superb collection of significant passages from almost all the relevant works, concentrates primarily on Sartre's ""reflective"" preoccupations, e.g. Consciousness and Being, Consciousness and the Other, Consciousness and Society, etc. Without prior philosophical training, and even at times with it, Sartre is a difficult man to grasp (""I have often thought against myself,"" so he told us in Les Mots); his importance, his immediacy, however, is unquestionable. Professor Cumming calls him ""the only philosopher of our time"" and it is not too outrageous a claim.

Pub Date: April 9th, 1965
Publisher: Random House