By Finn Bowring
A accomplished and scholarly exploration of the non-public and philosophical origins of André Gorz's paintings, this booklet contains a special 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 corresponding to the 'lifeworld' and the 'subject', it argues that Gorz has pioneered a person-centred social conception during which the rationale and which means of social critique is firmly rooted in people's lived adventure.
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Additional info for André Gorz and the Sartrean Legacy: Arguments for a Person-Centred Social Theory
I am never a bare thing and never bare consciousness’, Merleau-Ponty explains, ‘and in this exchange between the situation and the person who takes it up, it is impossible to determine precisely the “share contributed by the situation” and the “share contributed by freedom”’ (1962: 453). Merleau-Ponty certainly aligns himself with existentialism against the objectivist prejudices of scientific determinism. A freedom that could be snuffed out by certain conditions then rekindled by others would not be freedom at all, he observes.
Rather, the object gives itself to consciousness as a transcendent ‘plenitude of being’, as the presence of a being other than itself. All consciousness is consciousness of something. This definition of consciousness can be taken in two very distinct senses: either we understand by this that consciousness is constitutive of the being of its object, or it means that consciousness in its inmost nature is a relation to a transcendent being. But the first interpretation of the formula destroys itself: to be conscious of something is to be confronted with a concrete and full presence which is not consciousness.
It describes the character Lucien in Sartre’s short story ‘The Childhood of a Leader’, or the well-known British politician whose childhood desire to belong to the formidable world of adult statesmen resulted in an adolescent seriousness from which he has never recovered and which to this day makes him appear, by virtue of his supreme earnestness, like a child pretending to be a politician. On the other hand, there is the attitude which recognises the impossibility of being what one is, but which chooses instead to be a pure transcendence or negation of that which the for-itself must still, nonetheless, be.