Let's Get Rid of Motivation: Sartre's Wisdom
Abstract:Jean-Paul Sartre is probably the only existentialist who describes in detail, mainly in Being and Nothingness, the problems arising from the concept of 'motivation'. More precisely, Sartre describes a group of notions – motivation is one of them – that reveal the same basic ontological problem. Like these other notions, he states, the concept of 'motivation' ignores the primordial freedom that is central to human existence, that the human being is freedom, that every person is condemned to be free. I acknowledge that there may be a minor linguistic problem with the term 'motivation'. In translations of Sartre, 'motivation' is used, alongside 'motive', to render a number of terms used in the original French, such as 'motif' and 'mobile'. In this essay, however, I relate only to the English term 'motivation', as it is used in contemporary psychological and educational research. In short, in what follows I do not relate to the other possible translations of the French term for motivation, but rather to its accepted scholarly use in English-speaking countries.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2006
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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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