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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 14 | volume III | April-May, 2000



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 14April-May, 2000
Essays

Language as Freedom in Sartre's Philosophy

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p. 1
Salam Hawa

ABSTRACT: I argue that Sartre posits language as a medium of communication that is capable of safeguarding the development of subjectivity and freedom. Language does this in a twofold manner: on the one hand, it is an action that does not phenomenally alter being, but that has the capacity of altering consciousness; on the other hand, language, more particularly written text, is a mode of communication that is delayed, hence that occurs outside the present, i.e. in a different space and a deferred time. As such, it preserves the subjectivity of both writer and reader. The argument is as follows: first, I present Sartre’s definition of freedom and subjectivity in terms of his definition of consciousness of the For-itself and In-itself in Being and Nothingness; second, I draw on examples from La Nausie to illustrate the link between language, consciousness and the expression of freedom and subjectivity; third, I refer to The Psychology of Imagination and What is Literature? to illustrate further the importance that Sartre places on writing and reading as means to establish a lasting impression of personal freedom and subjectivity in a manner that defies space and time.

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    In this paper I shall argue that Sartre posits language as a medium of communication that is capable of safeguarding subjectivity and freedom. Language does this in a two-fold manner: on the one hand it is an action which does not phenomenally alter being, but which has the capacity of altering consciousness; on the other hand, language, more particularly written text, is a mode of communication that is delayed, hence that occurs out with the present, i.e. in a different space and a deferred time, and as such it preserves the subjectivity of both writer and reader. I present this argument in the following manner: first, I present Sartre's definition of freedom and subjectivity in terms of his definition of consciousness of the For-itself and In-self in Being & Nothingness; second, I draw on examples from La Nausie to illustrate the link between language, consciousness and the expression of freedom and subjectivity; third, I refer to The Psychology of Imagination and What is Literature? to illustrate further the importance that Sartre places on writing and reading as means both to freedom and subjectivity.


    1

    In Existentialism and Humanism (1946), Sartre states that “if God does not exist there is at least one being whose existence comes before its essence, a being which






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