"God is not an artist": the ambiguity of the third-person in Jean-Paul Sartre’s theory of the novel and philosophy of mindDr Pierre-Jean Renaudie
221 Burwood Hwy
- School of Humanities and Social Sciences
In 1939, Sartre writes a critical essay on François Mauriac’s novel La fin de la nuit in which he develops an interesting theory of the literary use of the first and third person pronouns that stigmatises the ambiguities resulting from Mauriac’s use of the third person. This important text puts forward an original conception of literary realism that argues against the omniscience of the narrator for the sake of a faithful account of the experience of freedom and description of conscious life. The purpose of this paper is to interrogate the philosophical roots of Sartre’s theory of the use of the third-person in literature, and to understand why the opacity of selfconsciousness, even though compromising self-knowledge, is not only ineluctable but necessary to human freedom. I will argue that this connection between Sartre’s philosophical claims and his theory of the novel does not only justify his literary options, but sheds some interesting light on his philosophy of mind.
Pierre-Jean Renaudie defended a PhD devoted to the relations between language and perception in Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology at the University Paris-Sorbonne (France). He is currently an FCT post-doctoral research Fellow at the University of Porto (Portugal), where he is developing a research project on self-knowledge in collaboration with the Mind Language and Action Group (MLAG), and an adjunct fellow at the University of Western Sydney (Australia).
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