Talk:Jean-Paul Sartre

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Jean-Paul Sartre:
  • Reference overhaul. Agree on one style (Harvard or modern, either is fine but mixing isn't).
  • Convert appropriate external links to citations instead.
  • Find a source before including piece regarding "the Nobel Prize that Sartre tried to get the money later on but that his wish was denied."
  • Improve clarity in 'Sartre's Metaphysics'. As it is, this section is overly complex and its terms are not adequately explained.

Sartre relegated his ideas to the notion that simply actions define people, particularly when existence was quite meaningless. "It's always been about being physical," is another way to put it according to Bruce Springsteen. Naturally there is an unmistakeable joy in that we move, now isn't there? Of course there is. Movement is one of the definitions of life, if biology serves us well enough. There is after all a notion deep inside that it is no sin to be glad you are alive. AbbyNormal26 (talk) 08:02, 31 August 2008 (UTC)AbbyNormal26

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Archive
Archives
  1. 2002-June 2008


Sartre died a THEIST?[edit]

I was just informed, by someone claiming to be a "Sartre expert" (which I certainly am not), that Sartre had a death-bed conversion and that this was reported in the words of Simone De Beavoir among others, in the National Review magazine. Obviously, I thought this would be an ENORMOUSLY significant piece of historical data, if true and should be added to his bio (not that I am convinced about its veracity). If not, I would be interested in hearing where such a claim could have possibly come from. Anyway, what about this claim? Anything to it? What is this fellow talking about with an article in NR magazine?

--Francesco Franco (talk) 08:46, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

--79.13.23.43 (talk) 08:42, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Sorry I didn't log in there. If you find the question inappropriate for this page or something, please just reply on my talk page. --Francesco Franco (talk) 08:46, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Sartre did seem to have a change of heart when he seemed to embrace Judaism in the last five years of his life. The question is whether Sartre actually converted to Judaism, as reported by Benny Lévy and Beauvoir, or whether he merely had a great appreciation for it. Personally, I'd dismiss Sartre's conversion to religion as much as Ayer's near-death experience, but some articles go into it. Here's one, J.P. Sartre as Jew: [1] Poor Yorick (talk) 09:22, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Someone continues to add a badly referenced and spurious section about "Finding God". This section is pretty much nonsense and should be deleted as soon as it appears. Aryder779 (talk) 21:05, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
The "source" that is included for this claims is a 1996 Wired magazine. 1) Wired is hardly a reliable source for work on a philosopher. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary sources. 2) Even this source is not cited correctly. Issue number, month, page numbers -- none of this is provided. 3) For a reliable source on Hope Now, see Judaken's "Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question," chapter 7. Judaken makes clear that Sartre's interest in Judaism was primarily political and did not entail an embrace of God. He also includes information on the controversy surrounding "Hope Now." No one should restore these claims unless they are willing to engage with "Hope Now" and the sizeable secondary literature surrounding it in a responsible manner. Aryder779 (talk) 16:05, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
I've added a section to "Later life and death" that includes reference to Hope Now and Sartre's interest in messianic Judaism, as well as making mention of the controversy surrounding these interviews. I think that this covers the matter sufficiently. Please note that Sartre did not "find God" in any straightforward sense. Aryder779 (talk) 18:01, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I read Hope Now some years ago, because of the whole conversion issue. Much of it deals with Sartre's rejection of Marxism as the "philosophy of our time." (Sartre had concluded in his Critique of Dialectical Reason that Marx's notion of "class" as an objective entity was false.) But Sartre does state his interest in messianic Judaism, which grew from his post-war realization that Jews lived their lives beyond the Holocaust; that is, diasporic Jewish life did not begin & end with the Holocaust. Sartre believed that the core of messianic Judaism was hope. BubbleDine (talk) 02:07, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

According to the website, JewornotJew.com on Jean Paul Sartre, it states: "Supposedly, a month before his death, Sartre showed an interest in Judaism. But, from what we can gather, an interest is all that was; Sartre did not consider himself a Jew... he was just Jew-curious." - Jean-Paul Sartre. Unless there is a reliable resource that states he converted to Judaism, he should stay labeled as an atheist. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ninmacer20 (talkcontribs) 02:43, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

"Sartre as a public intellectual"[edit]

This section has been dropped in from an essay with in line refs to match. I would at least consider splitting it with subheadings and trying to take out the "ernest student" tone.... Spanglej (talk) 15:04, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Nobel Prize for Literature[edit]

the article should have something about his declined 1964 nobel prize. and why and such. I'm in no place to write it because I have no idea how. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 148.167.126.212 (talk) 22:35, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

It is there: in the "Late life and death" section. Cheers, Zzyzx11 (talk) 15:13, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Thought- bankrupt god?[edit]

Did Sartre really say that humans would become a bankrupt god, or is that just some religious editor's conclusion?Ninahexan (talk) 09:09, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

I read the reference, which of course said nothing of the sort. Sartre stated that the absence of a creator required man to take full responsibility for his actions- a direct answer to Dostoevsky's line "If god did not exist, everything would be permitted", which Sartre states forms the beginning of existentialist reasoning regarding responsibility. If anyone can explain how this comes close to Sartre suggesting that man becomes a bankrupt god, please have at it.Ninahexan (talk) 05:35, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

As I understand it, Sartre, wanted man (i.e.: man and woman) to act freely in their situation. Meaning that Morality should be not preconceived as in a law, but rather made-up as the situation presents itself. Hence, to evoke this you find these statements. Morality should not be from a preconceived recipe but made as the situation presents itself for action or the lack of it.
He refuted the charge that he was amoral, but clamed to be moral.
So when he made these statements he was calling us to be very responsible. I think it was he who gave the talk: "At the age of 40 a man is responsible for his face." His not accepting the Nobel prize should be seen in this light, also for refusing to enter Oxford.
Sorry for the late reply.
MacOfJesus (talk) 02:25, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like a statement that relates to Sartre's existential psychoanalysis in Being and Nothingness, where Sartre claims that man is always striving for a type of being which IIRC he called "Being-in-itself for-itself" to describe a god-like state wherein the subject is both self-conscious but also pure being (being-in-itself), which he says is impossible. Thus he says that humanity is defined by a striving for a god-like yet unreachable state. This is where the statement "Man is a useless passion" comes from.
I don't know what context you find your statements in, so I can't really answer your question. SSBDelphiki (talk) 06:30, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
This is my memory from my student days and my study of his plays, where I understand he "played-out" his notions. To research the precise cite, I would need to re-study his work, and I'm lazy. (John Paul Sartre would say I am amoral: I can just hear him say it! And if I asked for finances, he would never speak to me again!).
Hence, trying to get a reliable source for: "the Nobel Prize winner tried to get money later on, but was denied..", is going to be extrardinary, for we all have to revive our notion of him if it is so!
MacOfJesus (talk) 22:41, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Relationship with Ali Shariati[edit]

JP Sartre had a relationship with Iranian intellectual writer Ali Shariati. Sartre is noted as once saying, "I have no religion, but if I were to choose one, it would be that of Shariati's".

The two had debates together, and frequently held meetings in a public academic environment where discussions over complex social issues were addressed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.80.105.24 (talk) 00:31, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Sartre[edit]

Subscript text

Can someone add in the intro that he was also a sociologist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.80.121.28 (talk) 05:48, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

The paragraph about Sarte being a prankster says that he forced Lascon to resign with satirical cartoons. Next it says that Lascon was forced to resign after Sarte's prank involving Lindberg. Maybe a little clarification/cleanup would be useful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.85.227.15 (talk) 04:13, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Thought?[edit]

Could someone explain and/or cite any of the following claims about Sartre's views?

  • "To begin with, the thing-in-itself is infinite and overflowing." -- Where does Sartre accept the idea of a noumenon? Sartre's "being-in-itself" is not the same thing as Kant's "thing-in-itself." Sartre's way of distinguishing the two (look at "The Phenomenon of Being and the Being of the Phenomenon" in B&N 7-9) is to say that being-in-itself is "in" a phenomenon, while a noumenon would be "behind" a phenomenon. For Kant, the noumenon is an inconceivable mind-independent reality corresponding to a mental phenomenon; for Sartre, being-in-itself is an unknowable (i.e., transphenomenal) mind-independent reality which simply is a phenomenon, or rather the existence-act of the phenomenon (which is now an extra-mental intentional object).
  • "Sartre refers to any direct consciousness of the thing-in-itself as a 'pre-reflective consciousness.'" -- Where? Reflective consciousness is also consciousness of being-in-itself. All positional consciousness is consciousness of an object, and all objects are in-itself. Reflection is distortive precisely because it is consciousness of the in-itself which pretends to be consciousness of consciousness (whereas in fact the only consciousness-of-consciousness is non-positional, and therefore not 'knowable' as such (B&N 114: "non-thetic consciousness is not to know")).
  • "Any attempt to describe, understand, historicize etc. the thing-in-itself, Sartre calls 'reflective consciousness.'" - This is false. Reflective consciousness is consciousness which attempts to describe, understand, etc. itself. "It's raining" is pre-reflective. "I'm getting wet!" is reflective. But both are descriptions/thoughts about being-in-itself, simply because both are intentional (both are "about" some object). The only difference is that the reflective consciousness posits something "magical" (i.e., irrational): an ego which is both thinker and thought, subject and object, active and passive. This is the inevitable result of trying to make an (intentional) object out of consciousness.
  • "reflection is fated to a form of anxiety" - Reflection has nothing directly to do with anxiety. Anxiety exists non-positionally even when one is not reflecting. Anxiety is the result of two features of consciousness: its freedom and its transparency. Consciousness is free in that it transcends itself (its past self, its facticity) toward an object; and it is transparent in that it is 'pure awareness,' nothing but being-conscious. (It's "for-itself"; any feature of consciousness must be accessible to consciousness.) Since freedom is a real structure of consciousness, then, consciousness must be aware of itself as freedom; this inescapable awareness is 'anxious' because consciousness lacks any sufficient criterion to determine its behavior.
  • "self-knowledge (self-consciousness - a reflective consciousness of an overflowing infinite)" - These are not the same thing. Self-knowledge is impossible: if by 'self' you mean an ego or psyche, no such thing exists for Sartre; and if by 'self' you simply mean consciousness, consciousness is unknowable (transphenomenal). Self-consciousness, on the other hand, is not only possible but inescapable. Self-consciousness, however, occurs only in consciousness' non-positional aspect; its positional aspect (i.e., the side that takes objects, that reflects or fails to reflect) is blind to itself, because it is necessarily directed outward (toward being-in-itself).
  • "Consciousness is consciousness of itself insofar as it is consciousness of a transcendent object." - This is a confusing way to put it. Consciousness is awareness of two things: itself, and an object other than itself. The former Sartre calls 'non-positional' or 'non-thetic,' because it does not posit any object. The latter Sartre calls positional, or intentional. Consciousness is aware of itself both as 'consciousness of a transcendent object' and as 'consciousness of itself.' In other words, consciousness must be aware of every aspect of itself at all times.
  • "'Other' (meaning simply beings or objects that are not the self)" - This is false, as far as I'm aware. 'Others' are other human beings, not other 'objects' or 'beings.' For Sartre, a chair is a being and an object, but not an 'Other.'

If I've misunderstood anything, let me know. If I was unclear about anything or you have questions or issues with what I said, go for it. -Silence (talk) 03:08, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

I have to agree that Sartre definitely denied AT LEAST the significance of noumenon, if not their very (non)existence. I remember very explicitly, from his introduction in B&N, agreeing that we have to "get away from what Nietzsche called the 'worlds-behind-the-scenes' ". This was Sartre's personal stance at least, although I feel that he falls into a strange contradiction. Pulling from my notes here: insofar as he reduces all of existence to phenomenon and directly rejects the possibility of the Kantian noumenon, he in a certain sense brings phenomenon into one role previously denied it by noumenon: phenomenon becomes the only true reality which previously could only have been noumenon. Yet even in this sense Sartre's idea that there is nothing behind the phenomenon remains true, because he (I believe) is not here being ontological, but only phenomenological. I would go as far as to assume that Sartre would admit the possibility of a noumenon, but not their "reality". I feel I'm being quite confusing here, I apologize for that. I feel that Sartre is still very close to the significance Kant gave to his noumenon, as they both insist on the utter unknowability of it. Sartre might say that even the noumenon could only ever be a phenomenon. We cannot get to the worlds-behind-the-scene, the worlds not seen: all we would ever have is another world seen.
Anyway, I think I agree with everything you've said. You definitely seem to know Sartre much better than I do. I'll come along a bit later and do some more thinking on this. SSBDelphiki (talk) 01:58, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
"insofar as he reduces all of existence to phenomenon" - Sartre does not reduce all existence to phenomena. There are two things which exist and are not phenomena: being-in-itself (existence itself, in its plenitude) and being-for-itself (consciousness). He explains that being-in-itself is not a phenomenon in the section where he speaks of "the being of the phenomenon" (the in-itself) not being the same as the "phenomenon of being" (i.e., the appearance that things exist). These two basic structures of Sartre's ontology are transphenomenal, and therefore not directly 'knowable,' even though they are necessary conditions for phenomena to exist. But the in-itself and the for-itself are not 'beyond' or 'behind' phenomena -- the in-itself is phenomena, and the for-itself is nothing but a self-aware movement toward phenomena. The only reason we can't 'know' that they exist is that we can't turn around and make our consciousness its own object (intentionality is irreflexive), nor make pure existence our object (to exist, the object 'being' would still need a transphenomenal 'being' of its own); but we are still perpetually, pre-epistemically aware that both exist, because we're aware that our phenomena are and we're aware that we're aware at all.
"phenomenon becomes the only true reality which previously could only have been noumenon" - For Kant, phenomena and noumena are both real, at least in that both play ontological roles. The fact that Sartre accepts phenomena and rejects noumena doesn't mean that he is using phenomena to fill the void left by noumena. Nothing fills that void, for Sartre; it's an ill-formed question, an error, even to ask "What is the world like beyond the Categories?" ("Existence," of course, is one of Kant's Categories!) We can speak of what existence would be like without constitution (i.e., without consciousness), but the most we could say about this world is that it would exist, that it would be pure positivity. (This doctrine comes from Parmenides; Kant would disagree.)
"Sartre would admit the possibility of a noumenon, but not their 'reality'" - Nope. Possibility is constituted by the for-itself. For Sartre, something is only possible if consciousness is aware of it as possible. But for us to be aware of something as possible, that something must be conceivable, and 'noumena' are inconceivable by definition. And it makes no sense anyway to deny reality to something 'possible' -- to say that it's possible is to say that it may be real. Noumena can't be real, because they transcend even being, and therefore by definition lack existence. The concept is self-defeating.
"they both insist on the utter unknowability of it" - Not in the same sense. Kant thinks noumena are inconceivable on principle, since they lack the qualities constituted by us: unity, plurality, totality, reality, negation, limitation, substance/accident, causality/dependence, community, possibility, existence, necessity. Sartre only thinks the in-itself and the for-itself are unknowable because they're the concrete ingredients, the necessary conditions, for knowledge (i.e., for phenomena). To make the in-itself or for-itself knowable, to make them objects of consciousness, would be to turn them into mere phenomena. Sartre is not a monist of phenomena, like Husserl; he's a dualist of being-in-itself and consciousness, phenomena being the mode of the in-itself as apprehended by consciousness. (The key difference between Sartre and Husserl is that Husserl brackets existence, while Sartre thinks that we must affirm existence even though it is not a phenomenon.)
"Sartre might say that even the noumenon could only ever be a phenomenon." - Isn't that a contradiction in terms? -Silence (talk) 16:57, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Just jumping into this interesting conversation. Interpreting Sartre requires that we think of him as a post-Hegelian (also Hegel was attempting to complete Kant's Critiques... some would argue that by the end Kant had reduced everything to phenomena anyway). It's not a contradiction to the extent that for Hegel the noumenon is objectified consciousness. (Definitely speculative and not necessarily explanatory I admit... but not a contradiction) The problem with the article is that it lacks sufficient references for various claims and the bit about "Consciousness is consciousness of itself..." is a direct quote from the English translation of The Transcendence of the Ego... So it should be quoted and referenced. Triistan (talk) 14:27, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Sartre rejects the idea of a noumenon; he allows the existence of 'pure being' or 'being-in-itself,' but this is not a 'thing-in-itself' because (a) it's not a thing (it's, in a sense, the raw 'stuff' all things are made of), and (b) it's directly experienced (every time we perceive any phenomenon, we are perceiving a modified version of being-in-itself; so being-in-itself is in every phenomenon, whereas Kant's thing-in-itself is forever hidden behind all phenomena). Sartre was also certainly influenced by Hegel, but since he bases his entire philosophy on the foundational rejection of idealism, he is a 'Hegelian' only in the same sense that Kierkegaard is a 'Hegelian:' He is an anti-Hegelian. -Silence (talk) 19:22, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Early life[edit]

Cut from the early life section: "Sartre was influenced by many aspects of Western philosophy, adopting ideas from Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Søren Kierkegaard, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, among others. " A famous episode recounts Sartre hearing from Aron about Husserl - it was in the mid thirties; he read Heidegger in the stalag; later in life he admitted knowing about Hegel only from second hand and read it after "Being and Nothingness".195.96.229.83 (talk) 12:14, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Signature[edit]

Can you add Sartre's signature? Here's the link: http://fadedgiant.net/assets/images/sartre_jean_paul_2.jpg --72.82.8.229 (talk) 17:48, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Lead section[edit]

Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre . . . was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, essayist, biographer, memoirist, literary critic, and sociopolitical activist.

He was one of the leading figures in 20th-century Frech philosophy and sociopolitical arena, and his work continues to influence fields such as literary studies, sociology, as well as Marxism after his second major philosophical work, Critique of Dialectical Reason, in wich he attempted to reconcile existentialism with Marxism.

Sartre was also noted for his lifelong relationship with Simone de Beauvoir. He was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature but refused the honour.

Date and original title of Sartre’s essay “The Hole”[edit]

The closest citation I could find for Sartre’s essay “The Hole” is that it appears on pages 84–90 of Existentialism and Human Emotions (New York: The Philosophical Library, 1957). It might have been been published elsewhere at an earlier date, but I’ve not seen it if it was. Does anyone here know the essay’s original French title? I guessed “Le Trou”, but I’ve had no luck searching for that. Where and when was that essay first published? Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr (talk) 14:22, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Category: Freudian[edit]

It's incorrect assume Sartre as Freudian. Sartre's existential psychoanalysis is incompatible with Freud's psychoanalysis. (See Betty Cannon, Sartre and Psychoanalysis: An Existentialist Challenge to Clinical Metatheory, Lawrence, University Press of Kansas, 1991.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 187.41.159.19 (talk) 21:00, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

I'll assume someone did this as a joke. A bit like putting Stalin in Category:Anarchists. -Silence (talk) 19:17, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Mother a Milliner????[edit]

I removed the line about Sartre's mother being a "a respectable hat designer, with clients like Isabelle Carré, Judith Godrèche and Catherine Deneuve", since the three women cited were all born after his mother died. I could find no source anywhere that discusses her vocation. Sesesq (talk) 05:12, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

News flash: An author isn't the same as the characters he creates[edit]

The following passage was added by user SummerWithMorons in this edit of 3 June 2011.

In 1939, in his famous short-story collection The Wall, referring to a fake turd, he will say that in pranks "There is more destructive power than in all the works of Lenin."[1]
Reference
  1. ^ Stuart Zane Charmé (1993) Vulgarity and Authenticity: Dimensions of Otherness in the World of Jean-Paul Sartre, pp.184–5

What the Stuart Charmé, author of the cited book Vulgarity and Authenticity actually writes isn't about Sarte himself, but about one of the characters Sartre created. Charmé writes:

In one of his early stories, Sartre had already established the connection between homosexuality and the complex nature of tricks and illusions. When Lucien, the incipient antisemite in "The Childhood of a Leader," visited the home of the homosexual Bergère, he was surprised by Bergère's enormous collection of practical jokes: "solid liquids, sneezing powder, floating sugar, an imitation turd, and a bride's garter." Bergère gracefully took the "perfectly imitated excrement" in his long, delicate fingers, and told Lucien, "These jokes have a revolutionary value. They disturb. There is more destructive power in them than in all the works of Lenin."

It's original research to suggest that Sartre's views were literally identical to the words he put into the mouth of one of his many characters. On the same basis we might as reasonably claim that Sartre thought it was a good thing to have coitus with a duck, or to go unrecoverably insane, because he has Bergère praise these things. --OhioStandard (talk) 18:32, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Brian C. Anderson[edit]

This guy is just a conservative propagandist who is barely wiki worthy... I'm not saying his sourced statement should necessarily be deleted, but if its kept perhaps some effort should be made to make clear who he is, he's not an intellectual of any note and what he has to say is said more eloquently by clive james 202.49.0.2 (talk) 06:21, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

"More eloquently" is a matter of opinion. I don't see any reason Anderson's comments should be removed; there's no rule that conservative views can't be mentioned. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 08:26, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
it's not simply that Anderson is a conservative; it is the caliber of his work as compared to that of the other critics listed. There are _plenty_ of credible conservative critics of Sartre. Anderson is not one of them.--64.234.26.106 (talk) 04:10, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

Formally Bullied?[edit]

The Early Life section says he was "formally bullied." What does that mean? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:6:3F00:C0A:3475:94FA:5A1D:E868 (talk) 02:54, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Castro[edit]

AlterBerg edited a sentence to read as follows, 'However he stood against the (temporary) persecution of gays by Castro's régime, which he compared to Nazi persecution of the Jews, and said: "Homosexuals are Cuba's Jews".' The addition was the word "temporary" in parentheses. The addition is inappropriate for numerous reasons. In the first place, readers of the article cannot reasonably be expected to know what it is supposed to mean. In the second place, it confuses the sense of the sentence, making it imply that Sartre opposed the persecution of gays by Castro's régime because the persecution was temporary. I realize that this is probably not what AlterBerg intends his version of the sentence to mean, but that is nevertheless still what it implies given the rules of the English language. Fundamentally, the addition is irrelevant - the article is about Sartre, not about Castro, and adding additional information about Castro and his régime does nothing to help readers understand Sartre. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 05:20, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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