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Reviews441 influential Liber Regularum of Tyconius. On the odier hand, chapter 1, which insists diat die prayerful and often rambling voice of Augustine the speaker in the Confessions must be distinguished from the intention of Augustine the audior of the Confessions, is die most convincing. McMahon, who eschews lengdiy discussion ofprevious scholarship, concludes his volume with a brief bibliography and an even briefer general index. The index of passages from the Confessions is quite helpful and wül make Augustine's PrayerfulAscent a handy companion for what it should inspire: a fresh rereading of Augustine's immensely influential book. Western Washington UniversityRichard K. Emmerson Sartre's Ethics of Ambiguity, by Linda A. Bell; 223 pp. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1989, $25.95. The conventional wisdom about Sartre's ethics is that his system is flawed by certain significantly unresolved, and perhaps irresolvable, conflicts. In Being and Nothingness Sartre defended at length a number of notorious theses: the impossibUity of achieving mutual recognition of each others' freedoms, the unattainability of the Kantian ideal oftreating persons as ends and not means, and die presence of conflict rather than community as the essence of interpersonal relations. These views apparently clash with Sartre's well-known political advocacy; also with other of his writings, especially the popular Existentialism Is a Humanism, which argues that we are morally obliged to respect die freedom of odiers and endorses a kind of categorical imperative based on a sense ofmoral community. At the end oíBeing and Nothingness Sartre promised a future work on the ediical consequences of his phUosophy of freedom and consciousness. That work never eventuated and many have seen his subsequent commitment to Marxism as an implicit recognition ofthe incompatibUity of his earlier phUosophy with his public stance as a political activist. Linda Bell's book chaUenges this commonly accepted view of Sartre's ethics. She argues for the possibUity of a coherent, viable Sartrean ethics, drawing on die whole range of Sartre's writings. Her argument proceeds by focusing on five sets of questions about Sartre's ethics of deliverance and salvation. First, Sartre's condemnation of bad faith is defended against the famUiar charge of inconsistency. On BeU's interpretation, what is involved in Sartre's moraljudgement is purely analytic, given the nature of moral choice and die moral point ofview. Second, inferences from die inevitabüity of individual alienation to the 442Philosophy and Literature inevitabUity of bad faidi are rejected by distinguishing two kinds of alienation, onlyone ofwhich is unavoidable. Third, questions concerningSartre's relativism and die ultimate futility ofactions are answered by appeal to die notion ofplay, the adoption of a nonserious, nonpossessive attitude. Fourth, Sartre's revolutionary condemnation of certain social structures is squared widi his daims about die inevitabUity of social alienation by a recognition that some sorts of avoidable alienation may be overcome by revolution. Finally, the possibUity of authentic relationships widi odiers is affirmed and instances of a serious alternative to sequestration and individualism are located in Sartre's work and in his life. BeU's attempt to present an adequate Sartrean ethics of autiienticity makes Uluminating use of the entire corpus of Sartre's writings, induding his literary works as well as his more conventionally phUosophical texts, and she is particularly good at resolving interpretive difficulties by juxtaposing writings not usuaUy connected togedier. She exhibits an impressive famUiarity with the bulky Sartrean canon, as well as with the large secondary literature on Sartre. AU this, together with the carefully focused scope of her project, makes die book a very useful contribution to the exegetical literature on Sartre. It is, however, very much a work in the commentarial genre, notwithstanding some welcome attempts to connect various of the issues treated with themes of other writers (including Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Hare). There is no real attempt to take the argument beyond what Sartre might have said and the exegesis, though lucid and thorough, is not philosophically suggestive in the way that, say, Danto's litde book on Sartre is. But within its self-imposed limits this is a meticulous and creditable piece of philosophical scholarship. Massey University, New ZealandRoy W. Perrett StructuralismandtL·LogicofDissent, by EveTavorBannet...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 441-442
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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