2005 | 14 | 4(56) | 179-185
Article title

How to Escape from Sartre?

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Although until the late 60's Jean-Paul Sartre enjoyed the reputation of a 'total intellectual', his authority was often challenged. As it happened, he was in permanently conflict with nearly everyone who had formerly been his ally. For a long time, however, Sartre managed to choose the battle ground and the arms that were used in the confrontations. This situation changed when in 1966 Michel Foucault published 'The order of things'. All of a sudden it looked like Michel Foucault could eclipse the aging master. But pushing Sartre to the sidelines was not an easy task, as Foucault shortly discovered. In the first place, it was not his intention to diminish Sartre's authority. Secondly, Foucault quickly realized that he was not engaging himself in a direct polemic with Sartre as a philosopher, but he was opposing Sartre as an intellectual institution. This implied for Foucault that he had to seek some reconciliation with Sartre as a philosopher in order to oppose his more effectively as an institution. He noticed that a head-on opposition to Sartre would force him to enter in the debate on terms dictated by Sartre. So a subtle shift of themes and employment of new methods of argument were a better strategy for Foucault. He used it and tried to avoid a direct confrontation.
  • M. Kozlowski, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Filozofii, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 3, 00-047 Warszawa, Poland
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Publication order reference
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