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Sartre and Marxist Existentialism

The Test Case of Collective Responsibility

In this important book, Thomas R. Flynn reinterprets and evaluates Sartre’s social and political philosophy, arguing that the existential ethics of Sartre’s early phase is consistent with the Marxist-inspired views of his later writings. Displaying his mastery of Sartre’s entire corpus, Flynn reconstructs Sartre’s social ontology with its sensitive balance of the existentialist’s respect for moral responsibility and the Marxist’s sense of social causation. Flynn focuses on the issue of collective responsibility as a particularly apt test-case for assessing any proposed union of existentialist and Marxist perspectives.

The study begins with an examination of the uses of "responsibility" in Being and Nothingness and in several postwar essays. Flynn then concentrates on the Critique of Dialectical Reason, offering a thorough analysis of the remarkable social theory Sartre constructs there. A masterful contribution to Sartre scholarship, Sartre and Marxist Existentialism will be of great interest to social and political philosophers involved in the debate over collective responsibility.

280 pages | 5.875 x 9 | © 1984

Philosophy: History and Classic Works, Philosophy of Society

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Part One: Freedom and Responsibility in Sartrean Existentialism
1. The Existentialist Anthropology of Being and Nothingness Freedoms and Responsibilities
2. The Existentialist Anthropology of Being and Nothingness: The Social Dimension
3. Beyond Authenticity: Social Responsibility and the Committed Agent
Part Two: Collective Responsibility: The Emergence of a Theory
4. Three Portraits of Social Responsibility
5. Freedom and Necessity: The Existentialist in the Court of History
6. Sartre’s Social Ontology: The Problem of Mediations
7. The Conditions and Range of Collective Responsibility: The Theory Reconstructed
8. Responsibility and the Industrial Capitalist
Part Three: Existential Marxism or Marxist Existentialism?
9. The Sartrean Dilemma: Collective Responsibility without a Collective Subject
10. Collective Responsibility and the Ethical Imagination
Jean-Paul Sartre Vivant: The Existentialist as Social Theorist

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