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