Christian Skirke on Sorin Baiasu’s “Kant and Sartre: Re-Discovering Critical Ethics”


SORIN BAIASU | Kant and Sartre: Re-Discovering Critical Ethics | Palgrave Macmillan 2011


By Christian Skirke 

Many commentators believe that Sartre is an opponent of Kantian moral philosophy, and numerous passages from Sartre’s œuvre seem to support their view. In Kant and Sartre, Sorin Baiasu goes against this tradition. He argues that Kant and Sartre converge on a number of issues, for example on the controversial moral obligation of unconditional truthfulness (p. 6) and on the transformative character of ethics (p. 63).

In this critical note, I want to address several interconnected problems with the Sartre that Baiasu presents to us. First and foremost, Baiasu tends towards a cognitivist interpretation of Sartre. He stresses Sartre’s commitment to what he calls reflexivity, a certain way of making the self-conscious character of intentional experiences or engagements explicit. Maybe this is to strengthen Sartre’s connection with Kant; and I’m broadly sympathetic to this emphasis. However, I believe that Baiasu’s interpretation fails to give reflexivity the right place in the intentional life of self-conscious agents. Read more

Sacha Golob on Sorin Baiasu’s “Kant and Sartre: Re-Discovering Critical Ethics”


SORIN BAIASU | Kant and Sartre: Re-Discovering Critical Ethics | Palgrave Macmillan 2011


By Sacha Golob

Comparative work in the history of philosophy is a difficult thing to do well. It requires bringing into dialogue systems and arguments which are, even when close chronological and intellectual connections exist, often driven by very different ambitions and pressures, and which are frequently couched in terminological and conceptual frameworks untranslatable without remainder. Yet such comparative work is also extremely important. This is in part because of the complex and distinctive relation between philosophy and its past. It was for Kant, and for many of his successors within European thought, both natural and necessary to vindicate their work in part by relating it to pre-existing dialectics and texts: above all, by providing a type of error theory, an explanation of how one might plausibly arrive at, say Humean empiricism, and yet why it was nevertheless fundamentally mistaken—a tactic that at times achieves something close to methodological dominance once one reaches Hegel and Heidegger. Read more