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

By Finn Bowring

A accomplished and scholarly exploration of the non-public and philosophical origins of André Gorz's paintings, this ebook incorporates a distinctive 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 reminiscent of the 'lifeworld' and the 'subject', it argues that Gorz has pioneered a person-centred social conception within which the rationale and which means of social critique is firmly rooted in people's lived event.

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I emerge alone and in anguish confronting the unique and original project which constitutes my being; all the barriers, all the guard rails collapse, nihilated by the consciousness of my freedom. (1956: 39) This freedom, we should add, is not a property of consciousness, but is the very being of consciousness. In Being and Nothingness Sartre defines this being as ‘for-itself’, a term which derives from Hegel and which signifies for Sartre the way consciousness cannot exist as an undifferentiated unity but is compelled to remain at a distance from Sartre and the Existential Subject 19 itself, ‘to be itself in the form of presence to itself’.

Vital attitudes If the ethical choice of Life – the choice to be the timeless perpetuation of one’s facticity – leads to inauthentic activities and attitudes, this is because the ideal of Nature is precisely that: an ideal. Certainly most people will, at one time or another, be able to enjoy themselves as vital beings, to valorise their physically and sensory possibilities and to flourish spontaneously as an embodied transcendence. But to choose to exist on the vital level alone – to choose Nature as one’s fundamental project – is to produce oneself as the naturalising perpetuation of all three regions of facticity, and there is no guarantee that they will all permanently lend themselves to vital valorisation.

The body [of the animal] is never pure object, but always signifies action or its possibility; it is a for-itself-in-itself, a spirit, a transcendence cast in being; it always tells us less about itself than about its appropriative relation with its milieu . . Each body incarnates a possible relation to the world which ‘speaks’ to us and is a possible modulation of ourselves. It is not by accident that primitive peoples had their sacred animals and that many religions consider all animals sacred .

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