Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On Jean-Paul Sartre And Sartre's Phenomenology

"In general, Sartre's outlook is something of a hodge-podge of different ideas hammered somewhat idiosyncratically into a system, which never received the refinements to which an academic career would have exposed his thought."

"Sartre took courses in philosophy and psychology, and was known as a voracious reader, a prankster, and a composer of bawdy lyrics, and as something of a boxer. He was small and ugly but exceptionally strong."

"Sometime in 1932, on one of his breaks from Le Havre, Sartre had his famous conversation with Raymond Aron and Simone de Beauvoir in a Paris cafe about phenomenology. Aron was on holiday from Berlin where he was studying Husserlian phenomenology at the French Institute. Sartre had been talking about his study on contingency when Aron mentioned Husserlian phenomenology as a way of getting to concrete things themselves. According to de Beauvoir's recollections, Aron explained to Sartre that, as a phenomenologist, one could talk about the very glass on the table. According to de Beauvoir, Sartre almost turned pale with emotion. Sartre was so excited, he dragged de Beauvoir around the Paris bookshops to find something on Husserl and found Levina's study which he devoured, and from which he discovered that Husserl knew of contingency, the concept Sartre himself was exploring."

- Dermot Moran, Jean-Paul Sartre, in Introduction to Phenomenology (New York: Routledge Press, 2007).

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