Tags

, , ,

In the closing sentences of The Transcendence of the Ego, Sartre remarks that since consciousness is purified of any a transcendental I, since “absolute consciousness” is no longer a collection of representations but a non-essential absolute source of existence, and since this “absolute consciousness” resides entirely in the World (the latter) which precedes the upsurge of the me, then “No more is needed in the way of a philosophical foundation for an ethics and a politics which are absolutely positive.” As Leo Fretz (I would argue) rightly notes, because of Sartre’s tendential solipsism in his early writings, it isn’t until Critique of Dialectical Reason that he is adequately able to connect the historical-cogito with others and with the surrounding materiality. “Therefore,” Fretz asserts, “in this work the foundation is laid for ‘an ethics and a politics which are absolutely positive.’ But both this ethics and this politics have yet to be constructed.”

Setting aside  for the moment what a positive Sartrean-ethics/politics might look like and setting aside determinative statements about the validity of his claim, I am curious as to what positive ethics and/politics actually are. I mean, are positive ethics and/or politics merely descriptive? In this case, is Sartre suggesting that his theory of consciousness/subjectivity (even if only realizable twenty plus years later) is the perfect foundation for descriptive ethics and politics? If so, what does that even mean?

I get the feeling that he is not merely referring to description when he uses “positive.” I get the feeling that he has an idea of construction in mind, of creation or production – but this is pure conjecture on my part. Any ideas out there about what an “absolutely positive” ethics and politics might be?

Advertisements