essay on our belief and sartres points and the 5 rhetorical situation

| January 27, 2015

What is the thesis of this lecture? How does this presentation as a reading impact your comprehension (versus how you’d theorize it working as an actual lecture)? How does the format impact Sartre’s choices in examples and organization? How does this lecture demonstrate all 5 aspects of the Rhetorical Situation?

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Jean-Paul Sartre 1946 Existentialism Is a Humanism Written: Lecture given in 1946 Source: Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre, ed. Walter Kaufman, Meridian Publishing Company, 1989; First Published: World Publishing Company in 1956; Translator: Philip Mairet; Copyright: reproduced under the “Fair Use” provisions; HTML Markup: by http://www.marxists.org/admin/volunteers/biographies/ablunden.htmAndy Blunden 1998; proofed and corrected February 2005. My purpose here is to offer a defence of existentialism against several reproaches that have been laid against it. First, it has been reproached as an invitation to people to dwell in quietism of despair. For if every way to a solution is barred, one would have to regard any action in this world as entirely ineffective, and one would arrive finally at a contemplative philosophy. Moreover, since contemplation is a luxury, this would be only another bourgeois philosophy. This is, especially, the reproach made by the Communists. From another quarter we are reproached for having underlined all that is ignominious in the human situation, for depicting what is mean, sordid or base to the neglect of certain things that possess charm and beauty and belong to the brighter side of human nature: for example, according to the Catholic critic, Mlle. Mercier, we forget how an infant smiles. Both from this side and from the other we are also reproached for leaving out of account the solidarity of mankind and considering man in isolation. And this, say the Communists, is because we base our doctrine upon pure subjectivity – upon the Cartesian “I think”: which is the moment in which solitary man attains to himself; a position from which it is impossible to regain solidarity with other men who exist outside of the self. The ego cannot reach them through the cogito. From the Christian side, we are reproached as people who deny the reality and seriousness of human affairs. For since we ignore the commandments of God and all…

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