Sartre’s Socialistic Ethics: Exploring Ontological Foundations

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Sushain Raina


This paper attempts to explore the ontological foundations of socialistic ethics of Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) discussed by him in his significant work Critique of Dialectical Reason (1960, hereafter CDR). CDR considers man not as free consciousness or totally immersed in the physical body. Rather, it conceives man as a material being with certain material needs. The concept of material needs is central to Sartre’s socialistic ethics. CDR emphasizes the mutual engagement and interaction between the individual for the development of human condition and freedom. In CDR, one finds that the political, social and economic systems that are created by human beings shape themselves and have an impact on them. The chief new instrument it utilizes is Marxism. Marx’s version of dialectical materialism, according to Sartre, grounded individual in the physical body and rooted him in the concrete situation that influences and constrains his freedom and shapes him accordingly. This papers, thus in context of CDR examines the key ontological themes of Sartre’s socialistic ethics such as concept of human reality, relation between human beings and their world, role of conditioned matter, culture, class and family in determining identity of an individual.


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