Sartre & God (was Re: the mature Marx?)

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at
Mon Dec 25 15:00:04 MST 2000

En relación a Re: Sartre & God (was Re: the mature Marx?),
el 25 Dec 00, a las 10:34, Carrol Cox dijo:

> Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
> > Sartre wrote in _Being and Nothingness_ (1942): "Man can will nothing
> > unless he has first understood that he must count no one but himself;
> > that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite
> > responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he
> > sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for
> > himself on this earth."
> "Infinite responsibilities": I haven't read enough of the Marxist Sartre
> to know to what extent he moved away from this. By itself it seems
> to be straight out of Heidegger. The "alone, abandoned" has a
> double thrust.

It _IS_ straight out of Heidegger. Sartre's existentialist philosophy is a
French cooking of the basic German stuff. He never, never, abandoned the point
of view of the individual subject. In the heart of his mind, Sartre could never
accept that the actual subject of history was humankind as a collective

Thus, he kept stressing issues of "individual authenticity" over those of
collective struggle. But on his favour, it must be said that he never attacked
the notion of the _existence_ of a subject of history, whereas the whole
endeavour by Althusser pointed to this end.

Thus, although I agree in that his positions approach

> [...] a total repudiation of the insistence on the
> priority of social relations that is fundamental to Marx,

since in Sartre's formulation we see

> 'Man' as alone and abandoned *until* 'he' chooses freely to be
> himself (Heidegger) and on the basis of that choice aligns himself
> with [...] Sartre's "Infinite responsibilities."

I don't agree in that

> If *this* was the "humanism" Althusser was attempting to
> repudiate, he was certainly on Marx's side in doing so.

Sartre, at least, shared with Marx the interest in discovering an active
subject of history. Althusser hated the idea of a subject of history to his
very guts, much in the line of a manager of a factory --or of a country.

And I have a feeling that these managers tend to surprise us with very nasty
social schemas once empowered.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at

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