Reconsidering utopia: the political subject and political-ethical action in Simone de Beauvoir's philosophy and fiction

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Wood, Benjamin Andrew
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In her philosophical writings, Simone de Beauvoir argues our existence is defined by an inability to possess an objective understanding of our being. This fundamental ambiguity turns us towards a process of having-to-be – a series of attempts to define who we wish to become and the world we wish to establish. Through a reading of Beauvoir's novel, The Mandarins, I produce an outline of the political subject and a philosophy of political- ethical action that properly navigates this ambiguity. By committing to utopian political projects that aim at universalizing the conditions for collective self-emancipation, the political subject engages in political-ethical action that is a total manifestation of having- to-be at the same time as being.
Simone de Beauvoir, Political Subject, Political Action, Ethics, Philosophy and Fiction, The Mandarins