Sartre and Marcuse on the Relation between Needs and Normativity: A Step Beyond Postmodernism in Moral Theory
Abstract:In this article, I will investigate Sartre's claims regarding need as an element of the human condition, and I will compare them to the analysis of need found in the works of Marx and of Herbert Marcuse. These comparisons will raise important questions, such as: given the cultural diversity of experiences of need, is Sartre justified in speaking of needs common to all humans? Are these human needs to be considered permanent fixtures, or do they change historically? And, how might this affect their status as fundamental and truly human? Finally, is it even possible for us to recognize our real human needs, and to distinguish them from artificially created and alienated false "needs," while we exist in what Sartre identifies as the current state of subhumanity?
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 1, 2004
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- Published in association with the UK Sartre Society Studies and the North American Sartre Society
Sartre Studies International publishes articles of a multidisciplinary, cross-cultural and international character reflecting the full range and complexity of Sartre's own work. It focuses on the philosophical, literary and political issues originating in existentialism, and explores the continuing vitality of existentialist and Sartrean ideas in contemporary society and contemporary culture. Each issue contains a reviews section and a notice board of current events, such as conferences, publications and media broadcasts linked to Sartre's life, work and intellectual legacy.
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