(1971) Man and World 4 (4).

Autocritica filosofica e critica storica in J.-P. Sartre

Giovanni Cera

pp. 396-412

In this essay the author examines Sartre's attitude toward Marxism as related to his existentialism and his approach to history. Existentialism, from a methodological point of view, has been of much avail as an "ideology" rooted in personal freedom. Still, judging it from a Marxist point of view, Sartre has criticized existentialism for a) its theoretical limits (it is abstract, nonhistorical, non-dialectic); and b) its ethical and political "faults," since it is self-defeating and almost exclusively leaning toward privacy. And yet one has to note how Sartre neglected to point out that existentialism's theoretical limits are due not only to its non-dialectical foundations but also to its nonscientific character and its hidden religiousness. Moreover, Sartre has not properly considered its historical value as a struggle against metaphysical thought and against a farfetched use of science. Basically — and apart from the views stated in such articles as "Les Communistes et la paix" — Sartre's Marxism is, from a political and ideological standpoint, strongly biased toward Soviet Marxism and socialism, since its main emphasis is anti-dogmatic and humanistic. Above all, this basic attitude could be explained by the negative influences of some historical and political events of the "40's and "50's on the development of his thought. As a matter of fact, his Marxism grew up against the background of Soviet politics in the Stalin and post-Stalin eras. Therefore, he refuses to accept any dogmatic and deterministic images of Marxism; instead of dogma he affirms the relevance of problems; in lieu of given truths, a concern for moral demands. In so doing, Sartre has based his Marxism more on the subjective praxis than on nature and history naturalistically viewed.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/BF01579033

Full citation:

Cera, G. (1971). Autocritica filosofica e critica storica in J.-P. Sartre. Man and World 4 (4), pp. 396-412.

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