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

By Finn Bowring

A accomplished and scholarly exploration of the private and philosophical origins of André Gorz's paintings, this publication features a distinct research of his early untranslated texts, in addition to serious dialogue of his courting to the paintings of Husserl, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Marx and Habermas. Reassessing pivotal notions resembling the 'lifeworld' and the 'subject', it argues that Gorz has pioneered a person-centred social concept within which the purpose and which means of social critique is firmly rooted in people's lived event.

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Extra resources for André Gorz and the Sartrean Legacy: Arguments for a Person-Centred Social Theory

Sample text

It is true, then, that if my resolution to stop gambling is to help me fight my addiction, I must constantly renew this resolution: ‘I must remake it ex nihilo and freely’ (Sartre 1956: 33). But if this choice is a choice of freedom, then it must also give back to me a change in my circumstances which not only makes abstinence progressively more easy, but which rewards me with a heightened sense of efficacy, autonomy, and self-mastery, and all without destroying my spontaneity and enjoyment of life.

It is characteristic of objective thought, for example, to represent the properties of objects as specifiable and determinate. Yet the richness and complexity of perceptual experience, Merleau-Ponty points out, defies objectivist attempts to delineate and catalogue the constituent properties of things. To separate the colour of an object from our experience of its shape and texture, for example, or its weight from its size and visual density, or its properties from the spatial context in which it is apprehended, is to misrepresent our experience of it.

But with the social mediation of my freedom, as we shall see, comes a new threat: that of alienation. Here we have, then, the rudimentary elements of existential phenomenology as it appeared to Gorz in the decade following the end of the Second World War. My exposition has been deliberately sympathetic and reconstructive, partly because existentialism has fallen victim to extensive misinterpretation and caricature, but also because the appreciation which I believe Gorz’s early writing deserves requires of the reader some familiarity with the philosophical issues that occupied him during this period.

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