The Crisis of Judgment
It has recently been suggested that Sartre’s 1946 lecture Existentialism and Humanism was the defining ‘intellectual event’ in post-war France (Miller 1993, p.42). Certainly Sartre’s audacious attempt to appropriate the Heidegger-Kant dialogue defined the parameters for the development of French critical theory. In writing Nausea, with its portrayal of necessity, existence, responsibility and alienation, it has been suggested that Sartre ‘was not merely popularizing the ideas of Heidegger, he was dramatizing them’ (Hayman 1986, p.99). According to Iris Murdoch, it engages Sartre with a Heideggerian ethics, revealing the underlying metaphysics which runs throughout his works (Murdoch 1987, pp.35–51). The influence of Heidegger can be seen equally clearly in Being and Nothingness George Steiner famously suggested that the text is itself nothing but a ‘footnote’ to Being and Time Sartre spent much of his wartime captivity reading and translating Heidegger’s works, and later expressed himself to be particularly impressed by Heidegger’s working of the concepts of freedom and responsibility. It is commonly suggested that Sartre began to compose Being and Nothingness as an immediate response to Heidegger, and as a personal expression of self-assertion (McBride 1991, pp.24–7).
KeywordsCritical Philosophy Sensus Communis Kantian Ethic Political Ethic Reflective Judgment
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