André Gorz and the Sartrean Legacy: Arguments for a by Finn Bowring

By Finn Bowring

A finished and scholarly exploration of the non-public and philosophical origins of André Gorz's paintings, this booklet encompasses a specific research of his early untranslated texts, in addition to serious dialogue of his dating to the paintings of Husserl, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Marx and Habermas. Reassessing pivotal notions akin to the 'lifeworld' and the 'subject', it argues that Gorz has pioneered a person-centred social concept within which the intent and that means of social critique is firmly rooted in people's lived event.

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Extra resources for André Gorz and the Sartrean Legacy: Arguments for a Person-Centred Social Theory

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The certainty of ambiguity: Merleau-Ponty Any discussion of existential phenomenology which ignores the contribution of Merleau-Ponty will always be incomplete. MerleauPonty had studied with Sartre at the École Normale Supérieure, and later served on the founding committee of Les Temps Modernes for the first eight years of its life. Although it is thought that Merleau-Ponty 24 André Gorz and the Sartrean Legacy attended two lectures given by Husserl in Paris in 1929, it is probable that his real interest in phenomenology began with Sartre’s recommendation after he returned from studying Husserl’s work in Berlin in 1934.

This is a condition most vividly described by the protagonist in Sartre’s novel of the same name, where physical objects like bodies and trees are revealed as the ‘soft, monstrous masses’ of a grotesque vegetable world comprised of palpitating flesh and geological crevices, where hands become ‘fat maggots’ and the distinctiveness of familiar objects gives way to the amorphous and disordered presence of naked and nameless being. Facticity and bad faith To complete this introductory sketch of Sartre’s existentialism we must consider four further concepts.

Though MerleauPonty’s interpretation of Sartre is not wholly convincing, his argument is clear: the factual circumstances of existence cannot be defined in opposition to freedom; they are the very substance of that freedom, ‘the roots which thrust it into the world’. ‘It is a matter of understanding that the bond which attaches man to the world is at the same time his way to freedom’ (1974b: 179). ‘To want to change the world, we need a truth which gives us a hold on adversity; we need, not a world that is, as Sartre says, opaque and rigidified, but rather a world which is dense and which moves’ (1974a: 143–4).

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