Re: [Sartre] Back towards the ethical
- View SourceJoe -- I agree that if one is studying existentialism that it would be
improper to limit one's self to the study of only one philosopher, be it
Sartre or anyone else. Each of the existentialists has something to offer.
Steiner's comment about Sartre claims that Sartre's work is mere "commentary"
on Heidegger's work. (I'm reminded of Whitehead's comment that all philosophy
is but a footnote to Plato). Certainly that is true to a degree. But Sartre
is not the same as Heidegger, and he draws upon other philosophers as well
and weaves them together in a way that is unique to him. The second, third
and forth runners in a relay race can do nothing without the runners before
them. This is no less the case with Heidegger than most other philosophers
in history. Heidegger built on the works of many philophers ranging from the
pre-Socratics to Jaspers, Husserl and Nietzche. Sartre himself stated that
his own works were just stepping stones for others to come (as opposed to
Heidegger, who made the ridiculous claim that philosphy reached its
culmination with Being and Time).
Just as I have been accused in this forum of putting Sartre on a pedestal,
you seem to have Heidegger on a pedestal -- and there are reasons both for
and against either. Your comment that Sartre is "hardly the pre-emminant
voice of existentialism" is certainly debatable. Certainly to the extent tha
t existentialism is a philosophy of action and making choices and of real
people living real lives, Sartre did more to illuminate this than Heidegger
or anyone else, when one considers not only his philisophical treatises, but
also his literary, political, biographical and sociological works.
Furthermore, one of the biggest real-world implications of Being and Time is
often glossed over. In Johanes Fritsche's recent book on Being and Time, he
"When one reads Being and Time in its [German historical and social context],
one sees that, as Scheler put it, in the kairos of the twenties Sein und Zeit
was in Germany a highly political work, that it belonged to the revolutionary
Right, and that it contained an argument for the most radical group on the
revolutionary Right, namely, the National Socialists and its Gemeinschaft...
. Being and Time is as brilliant a summary of revolutionary rightest
politics as one could wish for."
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