GABRIEL MARCEL (1889-1973)
Early publications on Josiah Royce and other idealists
1929 converted to Roman Catholicism
1943 called Sartre an Aexistentialiste@ in a review of Being and Nothingness. Called himself Aneo-Socratic@. But his extensive reading of and identification with SK, Husserl, Herdegger, and Jaspers places him squarely in the movement.
Major books: Man against Mass Society and his magnum opus Being and Having.
Two Conditions for Free-Will
1) a power truly our own--a power of self-determination. Kirilov=s self-will.
2) Freedom to act on what we determine for ourselves. No obstacles to our self-determination.
APositive@ and ANegative@ Liberty split over the nature of the obstacles (internal for the former; external for the latter) and how we properly determine what we do.
Positive Liberty: determine our actions according to a universal moral law. Jesus: AYou shall know the truth and it will set you free.@
Negative Liberty: Doing what you want according to a minimal legal framework.
THE ONTOLOGY OF MARCEL=S BEING AND HAVING
BEING Aa sphere that transcends all possible possession@ (627)
Mystery: the transcendent
No s/o split
AI am my body@
AI have a body
The greatest intellectual temptation: To make mysteries into problems, e.g. the Aproblem@ of evil, which should remain a mystery.
Excerpts from Being and Having (Gill & Sherman):
October 31 Despair as the result of meeting the Ano more.@ AHugging@ our own deaths. SK was right to bring this up. (11-9)
November 9 Wrong start: to assume with Descartes that our essence is self-consciousness.
November 11 Attack on Carterian starting point by using Heidegger: we are always beings along with othersCnot an isolated ego cogito.
619 The subject/object split, assuming it as primary, will spawn a host of unnecessary problems: do other people exist? Does nature exist? Is knowledge really possible? Leads to intrasubjectivityCa circle of the isolated ego.
619 (2nd col.) Do you really mean a metaphysical Thou? Yes. Anticipating Buber=s I/-Thou/I-it relationships.
Freedom in the I-Thou and determinism in the I-It. Love, freedom, spontaneity is proof of the Thou and intersubjectivity.
Dangers of autonomy. Autonomy belongs to the realm of Having. AWe do not belong to ourselves.@ Radical freedom (autonomy) vs. relational freedom (more on p. 627).
621 Existentialist credo with some debt to Heidegger. AOurs is a being whose concrete essence is to be in every way involved...@ We must raise the issue of Being once againCas Heidegger did.
Distinction between problem and mystery restated. The unknowable is just the limiting case of the problematic. It=s not to be confused with mystery.
Delving into mystery requires hypereflection -- a reflection squared? How does this jibe with a deep intuition with no self-consciousness? Our essence is not self-consciousness? Marcel seems inconsistent here.
622 Suicide is the Aessential point of reference for all genuine metaphysical thought.@ Many existentialists (esp. Camnus) would agree.
623 The "phrase" `the problem of God' is certainly contradictory and even sacrilegious."
625 Category of Having assumes a zone of [Cartesian] separation. Whose am I? vs. Who am I? Do I belong to God or to myself? Both ideas trapped in Having.
626 Cartesianism implies a fatal "severance" between the self and its World. Between "intellect and life" itself.
626 (1st col.) Strong attack against Decartes.
autonomy - self-rule6self-owning authentic
heteronomy - other-rule6other-owning/inauthentic
Kant: true freedom and moral worth is found only in autonomy; Marcel: autonomy is impossible
627 Kant=s heteronomy is not the real danger if we incorporate the influence of others creatively within our own being. Radical freedom as strict autonomy is impossible in a relational world.
627 Redefinition of autonomy as relational freedom within dialogical relations. ARooted in Being...is very freedom.@
Joys of Not Having: Joys of Wilderness: no one owns it. It is in the sphere of Being not Having. Joy of true love--not owning your partner.
Here is a great passage from Marcel's Creative Fidelity (pp. 14-17).