The Cambridge Companion to Simone de Beauvoir (Cambridge by Claudia Card

By Claudia Card

Simone de Beauvoir was once a thinker and author of remarkable diversity and effect whose paintings is relevant to feminist conception, French existentialism, and modern ethical and social philosophy. The essays during this quantity learn the foremost points of her concept. They discover her perspectives at the function of biology, sexuality and sexual distinction, and evil; the impact on her paintings of Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, and others; and the philosophical value of her memoirs and fiction.

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Beauvoir continues by arguing that “every man needs the freedom of other men and, in a sense, Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006 36 barbara s. andrew always wants it, even though he may be a tyrant; the only thing he fails to do is to assume honestly the consequences of such a wish. Only the freedom of others keeps each one of us from hardening in the absurdity of facticity” (EA 71). We desire each other’s freedom because we desire that others recognize the meaning we make and the significance of our projects.

But Beauvoir also gave Sartre center stage as a philosopher. There is no question that Sartre’s work was highly influential on Beauvoir’s thought. But there is much debate regarding how influential her work was on his thought and how much her work differed from his. While Beauvoir was alive many philosophers understood her work as purely derivative of Sartre’s. Some philosophers continue to hold this view, and Beauvoir is often excluded from textbooks on existentialism and phenomenology. She is interpreted as applying Sartre’s philosophy to women’s situation or to other particular Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006 32 barbara s.

In fact, one can understand the strands of feminist theory, liberal and Marxist, psychological, and postmodern and postcolonial feminism, as working through these understandings. Liberal and Marxist feminists take up political analyses of women’s socioeconomic and historical situation and how it affects freedom. Psychoanalytic and psychological feminism take up how culture molds women’s psyches into femininity and discusses what parts of women’s cultural situation need to be deconstructed to allow for women’s freedom, as well as what parts can be maintained.

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