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

By Finn Bowring

A complete and scholarly exploration of the non-public and philosophical origins of André Gorz's paintings, this ebook incorporates a detailed 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 similar to the 'lifeworld' and the 'subject', it argues that Gorz has pioneered a person-centred social thought during which the rationale and which means of social critique is firmly rooted in people's lived adventure.

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

Sample text

But this power exhausts itself in its actual operations upon the world, and it can become ‘genuine’ choice only after a purifying reflection which takes it on as its own. In fact it is already a free choice, and it is mine; but paradoxically I must still make it into my free choice of myself . . [Hence] even though I am already constantly choosing what is to constitute myself, I must still also choose myself. It is therefore preferable not to speak of ‘genuine’ choice so long as it is no more than ‘the silent assertion of our being toward the world’ [Merleau-Ponty].

Each level of existence, moreover, must be authenticated in the manner of the ‘existential conversion’ discussed by Jeanson and Beauvoir – that is, by choosing oneself as the pursuit of the value pursued, and deferring coincidence with oneself to ‘the infinity of evanescence’. But this is possible, Gorz argues, only if the for-itself has attained a higher degree of consciousness from which it can mediate, or ‘relativise’, its pursuit of value. In the case of vital values, this mediation may well presuppose a project that pertains to a new ‘axiological’ level (there is the aesthetic sublimation of sexual desire by the art of romance, for example, or of the pleasure of eating by the decorative preparation of food).

In principle, Gorz suggests, all the five senses can lend themselves vital valorisation. But sight, smell, and hearing are more susceptible to aesthetic appreciation, insofar as they are most attuned to dematerialised things (artistic representations, aromas, music, poetic symbolism and metaphors), and tend to favour lightness, volatility, and abstractness. 1 To listen and to look, Gorz argues, is to organise and formalise the perceptual field, to recreate it as an aesthetic object. Through touch, on the other hand, I can take possession of an object and enjoy it in the pure and formless materiality of its factual existence.

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