From Publishers Weekly
Written in 1947-1948, this unfinished treatise is Sartre's sketch for a revolutionary socialist ethics, and as such serves as a bridge between the existentialism of Being and Nothingness and the Marxist social thought of his later years. Sartre locates the roots of oppression in ignorance, stupidity, bad faith and mystification. He searchingly analyzes the oppression of women, children, slaves and, in an appendix, American blacks. He scathingly criticizes Frederick Engels, who, in his reading, absolved the oppressor of conscious responsibility by explaining oppression solely in terms of the interplay of economic forces. Deeming alienation to be a virtually inescapable condition, Sartre outlines a dialectics of choice and freedom in the spheres of work, religion and history. These lucidly translated posthumous notebooks contain a wealth of material on such topics as rights, violence, art, generosity, gift-giving, resignation and desire.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Philosopher, playwright, novelist, and correspondent, Sartre produced much during his working life that relied upon an ethical stance. During 1947 and 1948, he began to address the issue of formal ethics directly; the result of these initial but aborted efforts is this compendium of notes on the matter. Edited for publication in France in 1983 by his adopted daughter, Arlette Elkaim-Sartre, and smoothly translated here, Sartre's notebooks are clearly that: notes in need of reworking, expansion, reconsideration, and formalization. However, they are of great value to dedicated readers of Sartre, not only for their content but also because their raw state gives insight onto his formulating processes. The inclusion of two nearly finished essays, "The Good and Subjectivity" and "The Oppression of Blacks in the United States," serves to give the reader a sense of completion. For informed readers.- Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.