Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sartre and Camus--A Historic Confrontation

The book was edited and translated by David A Sprintzen and Adrian van de Hoven

The following are quotes that I want to discuss with my book group. References are to location on the Kindle. There are 3308 locations are the Kindle for this book.

[This section is the author's attempt to inform us of the historical environment of the feud.]

Loc 37 When rebellion itself becomes a vehicle of oppression rather than liberation -- what then is left to us?

Loc 124 Self-defense is justified ... but premeditated murder ... is not
Loc 129 ...the limits ..and the moral price individuals must pay if they transgress those limits ...
Loc 138 Calculated violence is always a sign and symptom of dehumanization.

Loc 140 Claims to exclusive possession of the truth prepare the ground for oppression ... Disagreements then become grounds for ideological combat... Camus' efforts during the tortuous struggles of the Algerian civil war take meaning here.  ...he strove to find common ground where dialogue might begin...

Loc 150 He [Camus] rejected any theory that argued that the ends justify the means

Ontology: the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being

Metaphysics: the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity....

Loc 186 That connection comes to the fore as Sartre becomes increasingly preoccupied with the concrete historical impediments to ... the realization of human freedom.
Loc 192 Political engagement seemed like an ontologically grounded moral imperative. ... Sartre came to see that the conditions (within which we come to be) profoundly mark the character ...which we make ourselves. ... We choose to be something definite, in a particular historical situation ...

Loc 200 While suffering few illusions about the repressive nature of Soviet power ... Sartre became convinced ...Only the Communist Party stood between the French working class and unimpeded capitalistic exploitation 

Loc 204 ...Sartre was convinced ..take sides ..even if necessary bt submerging truth...

Loc 207 Camus' sense of the responsibility ... Rejecting the exclusive alternatives explicitly owed by the political world ... He continued to believe that dishonest means corrupt noble ends

Loc 215 ...strengthened Camus' resolve not to sacrifice human values and concrete individuals for long term ideological goals

loc 237 Is there a Truth of History?  Or many truths? Or is its meaning only a series of diverse perspectives brought to it by engaged actors?

loc  239    Further, must one always tell the truth, or at least strive to do so?   ....   And does the truth guarantee that values will prevail? ...   May not noble illusions sometimes be necessary to mobilize the people for the dangerous struggle to throw off an oppressor?   .... These are among the issues raised by Camus, Jeanson, and Sartre in the texts that follow.

[continued introduction by David A Sprintzen et al]

loc  411  Sartre issues a statement in Combat ....."existentialism...Man must create his own essence: it is in throwing himself into the world, suffering there, struggling there, that he gradually defines himself. ... '

loc  598 Camus...concluded that there are moral limits to what actions are permissible regardless of the grandeur of the goals to be obtained.

loc  605   Sartre ....finally committing himself to the concrete struggles of real people in the real world---with all its necessary moral compromises. .....   He concludes that solidarity in the struggle of the oppressed masses is the sole path to a meaningful existence in this contingent world without transcendent purpose.

loc 618 Sartre had said that to condemn the Soviet prison camps would be tacit support of capitalism ...  He preferred to tolerate them [prison camps] as a no doubt unpleasant but necessary step to a more perfect society

loc 637 -Jeanson [in the May 1952 review of Camus' The Rebel] rejected Camus' claim that Marxism led to Stanlinism ..and accused Camus of avoiding reality ....

loc 659 Sartre's Reply to Camus which deserves notoriety for some of the most acrid ad hominem arguments in the annals of philosophy.

loc 713 Camus' position was based on the principle of coexistence: two peoples living together under a common charter of human rights.  ....where different nationalities live together in peace....  Camus remained faithful to the philosophy of The Rebel: opposition to violence. disgust for uselessly spilled blood, instinctive repulsion in face of intolerance and fanaticism.

loc 727 In The Rebel, Camus attacked the "historicism"  of his contemporaries, their invocation of "History" to justify their own public commitments and their indifference to the human costs of radical political choices.

loc 737 Simone de Beauvoi concludes that Camus was an idealist, a moralist, and an anti-Communist

loc 738 Sartre had labored since 1940 to repudiate idealism, to wrench himself away from his original individualism

[next is Jeanson's review of The Rebel]

loc 823 aren't we compelled to find the emphasis on style in this book excessive?

[next is Camus' reply to the review]

loc 1126 The truthfulness of a thought is not decided by whether it comes from the Right or the Left ....

loc   1226 book does not deny history (a denial that would make no sense) but only criticizes the attitude that aims to make history into an absolute.  Hence it is not history that is rejected but a perspective on history...

loc 1295 ..In any case, if one is of the opinion that authoritarian socialism is the principal revolutionary experience of our time, it seems to me difficult not to come to terms with the terror that it presupposes, particularly today---and, for example, so as to remain close to reality, with the fact of concentration camps.

[next is Sartre's reply to the Camus' letter]

loc 1435  If we dare call ourselves the brothers of those in misery, we must devote every instant of our life to them, and in that case, you are not their brother....  You are a lawyer who says "These are my brothers" because these words stand the best chance of making the jury weep

loc 1466  You used to denounce the use of violence everywhere, and now you subject us, in the name of morality to virtuous acts of violence.

[And then Camus responds to Sartre]

loc 2301 I learned that crime, far from having been given birth and burning in a criminal soul only to be immediately extinguished, could justify itself, turning its theoretical system into a powerful force, spreading its adherents around the world, ultimately conquering and ruling,  What else was there to do then except fight to prevent this result?

loc 2305 It is said that it is not the reasons for honor that sustain one, but rather honor itself that keeps one standing tall.

loc 2316 It would be more correct to say that we knew clearly where the lie was without yet being able to say where the truth could be found,

loc 2337 Far from wishing to condone anything, I wanted to understand the kind of guilt we shared

loc 2353 ...and that the rebel, if he does not rebel on behalf of everyone, ends up by reaching an extremity of solitude where everything seems permitted to HIM.  ...  The nihilism of the solitary individual like that of historical religions ends up consecrating terror on the level of the individual or the state.

[ then William L McBride responds in 1952]

loc 2661   It is true some of the excesses of the French Revolution stemmed from an extreme Enlightenment optimism about human virture

[then Jeffrey Isaac's essay]

loc 2786 How ought oppression to be conceptualized and resisted?  What are the limits of radical politics?  Is it possible to envision a politics practiced against the grain of Marxism and liberalism?

[then a time line---here are just  few excerpts]

Camus's refusal in September 1944 to join the editorial committee of Sarte's Les Temps modernes suggests political differences.
October 1951---Publication of The Rebel
January 1960--Camus dies in an automobile accident

Earl will help me reduce these down to 10 topic questions to be discussed with the  book group

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