HomeInternational Journal of Education Research for Higher Learningvol. 23 no. 1 (2017)

A Phenomenological Hermeneutics on Jean-Paul Sartre and Gabriel Marcel’s Freedom

Asisclo Iii M. Abonado | Alvin John J Neyra



This paper presents the respective positions of Jean-Paul Sartre and Gabriel Marcel, and the determination of the philosophic statuses of these positions. The intention of this investigation is to provide answers to the query of whether the respective phenomenologies of freedom proposed by Sartre and Marcel constitute a philosophy of freedom. For better understanding of the analyses, phenomenological hermeneutics method was employed to reflect that, taken as they stand, they do not. The reason is as compelling to avoid the reef of subjectivism. Oddly enough, these thinkers who differ so diametrically at the level of explicit statement agree on rejecting the type of reflective analysis that enables thought to surpass the plane of probability. Whether such reflection is mistakenly identified with an objectification of the subject and therefore refused, as in the case of Marcel, or it is falsely regarded as an aggravation of the foritself constitutional self absence and therefore ignored as in the case of Sartre, the fact is that their rejection means nothing less than a rejection of scientific status. Sartre’s failure to utilize a properly philosophic reflection is instructive as it first underscores the need of an essential type of reflection on method. Second, it establishes decisively the inability of phenomenological analysis to substitute for metaphysical analysis. Unlike Sartre, Marcel affirms the necessity of surpassing phenomenology through an exercise of reflection. A closer look at what he intends by reflection, however, makes it clear that he does not have philosophic reflection in mind. To say that the analyses of Sartre and Marcel are subjectivist is not to say that they are without interest for those philosophizing in the intellectual tradition of the west. Ultimate success of the collaborative effort depends upon an enlightened exchange – an exchange that does not stop at externals, but penetrates to dynamic intentions. If this effort to understand and evaluate the phenomenologies of freedom proposed by Sartre and Marcel furthers, however slightly, the progress of such an exchange, it is not without excuse.