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Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean-Luc Marion

For the Love of God

In: Journal for Continental Philosophy of Religion
Author:
Stéphane Vinolo Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador Ecuador Quito

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Translator:
Brian Becker Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador Ecuador Quito

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Abstract

Jean-Paul Sartre is not an influential author in the work of Jean-Luc Marion. Yet, as is the case for the phenomenology of givenness, Sartre thinks love in terms of God. However, for Marion, Sartre is exemplary of those authors who have remained prisoner to metaphysics and to thinking God as the causa sui. By comparing the Sartrean and Marionian conceptions of love, the author shows that both are based on radically different conceptions of divinity, demonstrating at the same time how the link between God and being determines human love.

Abstract

Jean-Paul Sartre is not an influential author in the work of Jean-Luc Marion. Yet, as is the case for the phenomenology of givenness, Sartre thinks love in terms of God. However, for Marion, Sartre is exemplary of those authors who have remained prisoner to metaphysics and to thinking God as the causa sui. By comparing the Sartrean and Marionian conceptions of love, the author shows that both are based on radically different conceptions of divinity, demonstrating at the same time how the link between God and being determines human love.

Jean-Luc Marion is rarely harsh in his treatment of other philosophers. He admits, even to his adversaries, the merit of serving as obstacles by being exposed to and confronted by their concepts. In all his work, only two seem to escape this rule. First is Spinoza whose reading: “… dispenses with conceptual demands.”1 Then, there is Sartre, who thought atheism “… in all its vulgarity,”2 resting upon “the naive and aggressive evidence that the highest name of the divine resides in the causa sui…”3 While wishing to be Spinoza (as well as Stendhal4), the absolute freedom Sartre brings forth from the rupture of consciousness is completely opposed to the radical determinism of Spinoza. Nevertheless, the violence leveled against them in Marion’s texts reveals that something essential must be at play for him.

Both Sartre and Spinoza are thinkers concerned with love and, above all, love as it relates to God – that is, as an experience of the divine. This point is evident in Spinoza since, in his texts, love takes as its model the most perfect love: amor Dei intellectualis.5 But Sartre also links love to the divine, considering love a subjective re-appropriation of the source of the subject’s being. Bearing in mind that only the other can give being to the For-itself, love responds to the ontological desire to be grounded in one’s being, to become God as the causa sui.6 Ontologically, love, in Sartre’s texts, is the very project of being God: “Such then is the real aim of the lover in so far as his love is an enterprise – i.e., a pro-ject of himself.”7

Marion also thinks love in relation to God. First, it is one of his Names: “He who does not love has not known God, for God is love.”8 But also the univocity of love, identified in Marion’s texts,9 makes thinkable a relation to God through the language of human love.10 So much so in fact that love is the only category that escapes the analogical relations between human and divine.11 Thus, Marion establishes a strong link between God and love, even if it would be the case that “God surpasses us as the best lover.”12

However, love as it appears in Marion has nothing in common with Sartrean love, which is limited to a “grounding in one’s being,” amounting to a “persevering in being.” It is not enough, then, to think of a relationship between love and God to have a single and unified conception of it. Everything depends upon what is meant by God and the manner in which one thinks of the relation with Him. Thus, the love of God, in all its polyphonous uses and in the double meaning it carries, is determinative of human love.

1 The Love of Being

Sartre’s philosophical anthropology, as it unfolds in Being and Nothingness, bears the trace of an “absolute event,”13 a moment in which, seeking to ground itself in its being, the In-itself denies itself in the hope of establishing the necessary distance between the ground and the grounding. However, from this distance, it is paradoxically the For-itself that emerges. The emergence of the Subject is thus ontological, which is why all human conduct is inhabited by the fantasy of negating the Subject’s contingency, as well as its grounding. This appears clearly in the fact that desire, in Sartre, can only be thought in the light of a desire to be: “Fundamentally man is the desire to be …”14 Now, since this being who is grounded in its being is historically the figure of the causa sui, simultaneously one’s own cause and effect, man is first and foremost a desire to be God: “To be man means to reach toward being God. Or if you prefer, man fundamentally is the desire to be God.”15 Thus, behind every singular human desire, there is the ontological fantasy of being God or, at least, of becoming the figure of God in its exceedingly conventional manner as Sartre and the vast portion of the history of metaphysics think it – that is, as the causa sui.

This ontological conception of desire most certainly has a direct impact on love. The loving subject, for Sartre, seeks to possess the source of its being, a source that lies in the other since the Subject, as a “self” is necessarily present to itself and thus also distant from itself,16 impeding every attempt at a self-grounding. Only the other can solidify it through the category of being-for-the-other: “The Other holds a secret – the secret of what I am.”17 But this love as a project of being is by definition contradictory given that its full realization would presuppose that the Subject can possess the other insofar as he crystallizes the other within being, that is, as a Subject when possession can only be a possession of the object: “[…] the lover does desire to possess the beloved as one possesses a thing; he demands a special type of appropriation. He wants to possess a freedom as freedom.”18 There is thus a paradox. On the one hand, love refuses to play the game of simple efficient causes, since no one would wish to be loved without the other freely loving us; on the other hand, this love cannot be totally free as the beloved always wishes to captivate and beguile the lover, and, for this reason, the lover’s freedom must be somewhat constrained. There is thus an original ontological structure of love which condemns it to failure.

Nevertheless, this Sartrean logic rests on two contestable facts. First, it is based upon the idea that love is a project.19 Second, this project is considered a project of being. We always love in order to persevere in being or to find our being. Moreover, this link between love and the “perseverance in being” is not something we find only in Sartre but is a distinct manner of thought also found in Spinoza and on the level of the entire species in Schopenhauer.20 Moreover, current work on the biology of love, such as found in Helen Fisher21 and Robin Dunbar,22 is merely another more contemporary extension of this notion of love as a perseverance in being.

The link between love and being is the point that Marion calls into question, not so much because love would be opposed to being but rather because it is indifferent to it.23 This indifference first concerns being loved [l’ être aimé]. As we have all experienced, it is possible to love someone who is, just as someone who is no longer (a deceased parent) and even someone who is not yet (a child to come). Love is completely indifferent to the misnamed “being” that is loved. From his reading of Romans 4:17, Marion insists that the logic of the call is indifferent to the difference between being and non-being. The God of whom Paul speaks is the one who “… calls non-beings and beings alike [kalountos ta mê onto ôs onta].”24 Although the difference between beings and non-beings may still be valid from the point of view of the world, i.e., from within being itself, God makes an appeal [fait appel], in every sense of this term, against this difference. Likewise, the lover does not renounce the difference between being and non-being but affirms, from the point of view of love and only from that point of view, that it is irrelevant for identifying the beloved.

Secondly, this indifference to being strikes at love itself. No one has ever seen love, and it has no ontological impact. To be persuaded of this point, it suffices to see what happens at moments of rupture in love. Such ruptures have no effect on the beings of the world as there are no less or more beings in the world following such break-ups. Nevertheless, the totality of the world is modified by this rupture since the totality of the significations that weave together and constitute a world are modified and afflicted, such as one finds, for example, with vanity.25 As such, love is not something that happens within a world but rather something that happens to the world.

Love does not appear but governs the laws of appearance for the totality of beings. From the depths of its non-appearance, it regulates appearance. For this reason, in other works, we have proposed saying that it is inexistent,26 marking the phenomenologically positive character of its non-appearance. The first rupture between Sartre and Marion concerning love thus takes place in connection to being. Whereas Sartre, who links God to being through the concept of causa sui, thinks love starting from a fundamental desire to be, Marion, for his part, links love to God insofar as both escape being: “Only love does not have to be. And God loves without being.”27 It is thus the God of causa sui that determines the link between love and being in Sartre, while it is a God without being that allows Marion to think the possibility, in its double sense, of loving without being.

2 The Pact or Alliance

But thinking of God as causa sui also has an impact on love as a relation. Divine ontological causality rubs off on the etiological character of the love relationship. First, for Sartre, love is a project that responds to personal interests. We love or seek out being because it justifies our existence by assigning to us a particular kind of being, offering the ontological stability of a being: “… love is an enterprise; i.e., an organic ensemble of projects towards my own possibilities.”28 Love thus has an ontological finality, it is a “… project of recovering my being…”29

The same holds true in the case of being loved. Sartre asks: “Why does the lover want to be loved?”30 To become the center of the lover’s world, the totality of significations constituting the lover’s world are reorganized around the object. In love, the beloved expects the lover to give the ontological consistency of the object; it is a singular object to be sure as it is the object that organizes one’s world, but an object nonetheless: “The object with the Other must make me be is an object-transcendence, an absolute center of reference around which all the instrumental-things of the world are ordered as pure means … I am the object through whose procuration the world will exist for the Other; I am the ground-as-object on which the world detaches itself.”31 Becoming the center of the other’s world justifies our existence by giving it a meaning within some project.32 Our existence is thereby justified in becoming that by which something like a world exists for another: “Thus my facticity is saved. It is no longer this unthinkable and insurmountable given which I am fleeing; it is that for which the Other freely makes himself exist; it is an end which he has given to himself.”33 Insofar as loved, we find ourselves lacking the other [manque à l’ autre], which grounds the necessity of our being: “My existence is because it is called [est appelèe].”34 We suddenly exist, in a very particular sense, as the center of the other’s world. “I am the absolute value.”35 Everywhere, then, we find in Sartre a link between love and being, delivering to the former an ontologically-interested character: “This is the basis for the joy of love [for] when there is joy: we feel that our existence is justified.”36

This self-interested conception of love can be found in Sartre’s biography, which takes this vision far beyond a simple theory of love. In 1928, he proposed to Simone de Beauvoir a genuine love pact,37 literally a love contract [un bail amoureux]: “At that moment Sartre proposed: ‘let’s sign a two-year contract.’ ”38 In Sartrean studies, this love contract may have been an object of surprise or admiration but its form has almost never been a matter of debate. Though we can appreciate there being social pacts39 or commercial pacts, can love truly enter into the structure of a pact?

In Marion, love escapes causality and reciprocity because it is thought outside metaphysics. Moreover, it escapes the desire for a grounding because it is also thought outside being. Different concepts of God thus establish different conceptions of love.

The impossibility of a metaphysics of love is marked by the difference between certainty and assurance. Clearly, as Descartes showed, the ego can discover the certainty of its existence and, in doing so, elevate it to the highest degree of truth. However, given the difference between the transcendental I and empirical me, the ego can only know the empirical me in opposition to an I that always already eludes it due to its non-objective status: “I is other than me, and the certainty of the me-object does not attain the I that I am.”40 Certainty only strikes objects.41 Moreover, even if we had attained the certainty of the ego, it would be, in any case, struck by vanity: “If my certainty depends on me, this very surety, that I must decide about, can in no way reassure me, since, even fully accomplished, it only has me as its origin – this me that it is in turn necessary to secure.”42 Contrary to Sartre’s proposal, love for Marion does not seek to achieve the certainty of an ontological grounding because such an attempt would falter on two points. First, as an I, we do not exist to the measure that we persevere in our being but instead to the measure of our possibility to be other than we are: “… by my mode of being according to possibility, I do not come under certainty.”43 Second, we do not come under being even in the mode of possibility, which is the true modality of our existence.

This is what is at stake in the erotic reduction, which follows the epistemic reduction (I is not an object) and the ontological reduction (I is not a being for which its being, in its being, is in question). The I does not seek a certainty but an assurance. Yet, this assurance cannot be an auto-assurance but must necessarily originate from elsewhere. As individuals, companies, and even banks know well, self-insurance [auto-assurance] is indeed efficacious except in cases of very serious calamity.44 But what is the point of insurance [assurance] if it is not useful in very serious cases? It is simply then not an insurance [assurance]. Genuine insurance [assurance] must then provide an assurance [assurer] that comes from elsewhere.

For this reason, love cannot take the form of a pact. A pact is always conditional and therefore belongs to contractual and commercial relationships. In a pact, we maintain the relationship as long as others fulfill their contractual obligations. As soon as these obligations are not fulfilled, the pact is broken or, at least, it becomes legitimate to break it. The fact that others fulfill their obligations is the condition for remaining in the relationship. Thus, it is only an interest in reciprocity that provides a reason for the relationship. Now, reciprocity is opposed to love, both in its “why” as well as in its “because”: “Thus it is necessary to reject reciprocity in love, not because it would seem improper, but because in love reciprocity becomes impossible – strictly speaking, without an object. Reciprocity sets the condition of possibility for exchange, but it also attest to the condition of love’s impossibility.”45 On the contrary, as Marion points out, love is not a pact, let alone a contract, but a covenant in which the lover advances first without making the relationship depend on any cause or any return (on investment). Herein lies the error of those who expect to be loved in order to love, or those who love in order to be loved. They do no more than “… play the game of love, certainly, but … only risk the least amount possible, and on condition that the other go first.”46 As the French language indicates, along with English, one does not enter into love by an exchange but by a plunge: love is always made by falling.47 Against the logic of the guarantee in Sartrean pacts, Marion proposes love as a unilateral gift that escapes causes and reasons. There is a decision to love that goes far beyond any simple etiology: “When loving is at issue, reason is not sufficient: reason appears from this point forward as a principle of insufficient reason.”48

The determination of God as causa sui or God without being marks a second rupture between Sartre and Marion. Whereas love is a project according to Sartre, a project from which lovers expect a certain benefit, love is a gift according to Marion; a gift, that is to say a unilateral relation without cause or interest. Hence, whereas Sartre claims that love certifies the being of the lover in its being loved, for Marion, love assures the lover of being (or not) a lover.49

3 The Subjectivity of Lovers

The opposition between the certitude of the beloved and the assurance of the lover finally allows us to consider the third rupture between Sartre and Marion, a rupture that brings us back to God – this time by way of the lover’s position and, therefore, that of the subject.

Sartre only thinks two positions for the subject: either as transcendental subject50 who signifies the world in a multitude of intentional objects, or as an object of another subject’s project. Thus, either the subject is the first and foremost principle, or it simply ceases to be a subject. These two positions appear in Sartre’s analyses of the gaze [regard].51 First, according to mere objectivity: “This woman whom I see coming toward me, this man who is passing by in the street, this beggar whom I hear calling before my window, all are for me objects – of that there is no doubt.”52 Of course, it is a singular object that, in turn, constantly signifies the world,53 offering to the world the organizing source of its meanings. For that reason, it steals our world by reorganizing space and time.54 Nonetheless, it remains no less an object: “The appearance of the Other in the world corresponds therefore to a fixed sliding of the whole universe … But the Other is still an object for me.”55

On the other hand, when the other looks at us, he ceases to be this particular object around which the world is reconfigured and, instead, becomes a real subject: “… if the Other-as-object is defined in connection with the world as the object which sees what I see, my fundamental connection with the Other-as-subject must be able to be referred back to my permanent possibility of being seen by the Other.”56 However, at the very moment when the other becomes a subject, we ourselves become an object. Suddenly, by the emergence of the other as subject, we become an object,57 which is why the other marks our fall58 and always already manifests itself as danger.59 It is starting from the other that the possibility of the “myself-as-object” opens, deposing the subject from its transcendental position.60

There is thus in Sartre an impossibility of thinking of a relation that is not the encounter between a subject and an object. He never manages to think the encounter between two subjects, between two freedoms. The gaze is always thought of as an objectifying one, as furnishing being, a being that is an object. It is enough to consider the paradigmatic examples of shame or humiliation to see that Sartre never manages to think of a benevolent or comforting gaze. Every gaze is always already violent:61 “[…] the Sartrean gaze … is always a gaze to be avoided.”62 This explains the necessarily conflictual logic of love, not at the moral level but at the deepest ontological level: “Love is dominated by the dilemma of being either possessively gazed upon [regardé-possédé] or to possessively gaze upon [regarder-posséder].”63 It was as if Sartre was only interested in the fact of “being loved,” and therefore of “being,” without ever posing the question of the one who loves.64 Love is thus mechanical because it is ontological: it concerns causality and being, which explains the completely mechanical character of Sartrean love in literature and in his private life.65 Whether it is about La nausea or Le mur, every love relationship is mechanical and functions according to the laws of the natural sciences. Hence, the sexual relationship is thought in terms of a purge,66 the negation of the interior life,67 the objectification of the lover’s body,68 and as theft.69

Contrary to this binary logic of subject and object, Marion proposes the gifted subject, whose paradigm is the loving subject: “… love differs greatly from all perception …with love, it is a matter neither of objects nor of appropriation. In contrast, it is a matter of the other as such …”70 The loving gaze is therefore never objectifying as the beloved is not reduced to an object but experienced as a subject, which allows us to understand the loving subject is not first but always already second. The very gesture of love does not constitute the beloved as a “being-that-is-loved” but responds in a secondary manner to the upsurge as a radical alterity. For this reason, the “me” of “one loves me” is neither an “I” nor a mere “object”: “… the other strips bare the I within me to the point of leaving only the me exposed. The I discloses itself before another gaze and discovers that only a me remains.”71 Love thus allows us to think paradigmatically a subject that does not constitute the world nor the being-that-is-loved but receives itself as a loving subject in performing love.

This is especially apparent in the visibility of love and in its revelation. No one can see love; literally, it does not appear in the world because it appears as the world. This invisible love reconfigures the totality of what appears. As pointed out earlier, love does not modify the world ontologically such that there are any more or less beings prior to loving than after, and yet, the entire appearance of these beings is modified. On that point, it should be noted that, as with every gift, only the recipient reveals this love’s modification of the world in accepting to love first and be exposed to the risk of loving without being loved in return. Only this abandonment to love makes it possible to reveal the new world that comes forth in a broadened phenomenon of anamorphosis.

Love is only made visible [se donne à voir] to those who assume the risk of believing in it and, as such, the possibility of being mistaken and deceived. Far from enclosing us within the dichotomy between the transcendental subject and the object, situating them in a simple relation of possession, love allows Marion to think a subject that is gifted, a subject whose activity rests precisely on knowing how to receive. One of the fundamental moves in Marion’s phenomenology has been to establish receiving as a kind of activity. In the same way that anamorphosis imposes on the spectator the need to submit to the laws of visibility to receive all that the painting gives to see, love imposes on the subject the need to be unconditionally exposed to numerous risks so that the world of love may manifest itself. In love, thus, there is a subordination of the subject72 that Marion places at the center of his phenomenology through his concept of the gifted, permitting us to go beyond the transcendental I and the empirical me.

4 Conclusion

A certain conception of God determines love in both Sartre’s and Marion’s philosophy. Sartre, for his part, only thinks God through the concept of causa sui and, as such, can only think love according to the logic of being, grounding, objectification, and the individual project. Although he thinks of love according to the logic of the call, it is always a call of being or a call to be.73 On the contrary, the logic of the call as Marion thinks it, and as Jean-Louis Chrétien had already thought it, has nothing to do with being, not because it opposes being in favor of nothingness but, instead, because it is indifferent to the difference between being and nothingness: “The precession of the call over being, of election over creation, of the cry over the act of listening, means that the origin comes for us only through having already come.”74 This is indeed the logic of love that subordinates the subject by turning it into the witness, commencing with a response to an upsurge. Moreover, this marks the fundamental link that weaves together love and faith. Like love, faith entails exposing oneself, this time, to the risk of believing in order to see,75 thereby justifying the univocity of human love and the love of God.

This interweaving analysis between Marion and Sartre has drawn links between love and God, allowing us to understand how their respective conceptions of love are completely dictated by the way each envisages God. Sartre remains prisoner to a metaphysics of love (thought according to the concepts of grounding, being, and cause) due to God remaining enclosed within the category of causa sui. In tearing God away from being, Marion instead thinks him according to the logic of the call, anamorphosis, and the subordination of the subject. Thus, those who do not think God properly may never know how to love.

Translated by Brian Becker

1

Jean-Luc Marion, À vrai dire, Une conversation Paul-François Paoli (Paris: Cerf, 2021), p. 24.

2

Jean-Luc Marion, Dieu sans l’ être (Paris, Fayard, 1982, re-edition, Paris, PUF: 1991, 2002), p. 57, n. 19. [Translator’s note: The English translation reads: “… Sartre’s finally vulgar ‘atheism’ …” Jean-Luc Marion, God Without Being, trans. Thomas A. Carlson (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012), p. 244, n. 19. An existing English translation of quoted texts will often be used when available. At times, quotes will be modified when deemed necessary for retaining the meaning that the present essay appears to intend. At other times, as is the case here, a direct translation of the French text will be provided instead of the available published translation. Whenever an existing English translation is provided in the body of the text, that text will be cited first in the footnotes, with a citation, in brackets, of the text originally provided by the author of this essay.]

3

Marion, God Without Being, p. 245, n. 19, [Marion, Dieu sans l’ être, p. 57, n. 19].

4

“He [Sartre] loved Stendhal as much as Spinoza, and refused to separate philosophy from literature.” Simone de Beauvoir, ‘Mémoires d’ une jeune fille rangée’ in Mémoires, I (Paris: Gallimard, 2018), pp. 321–322.

5

“… God loves men to the extent that he loves himself, and, therefore, … the love of God towards men and the intellectual love of the soul towards God are one and the same thing” (Baruch Spinoza, Èthique, V, 35, trans. P.F. Moreau (Paris, PUF, 2020), p. 489).

6

“Every human reality is a passion in that it projects losing itself so as to found being and by the same stroke to constitute the In-itself which escapes contingency by being its own foundation, the Ens causa sui, which religions call God.” Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, trans. Hazel E. Barnes (New York: Pocket Books, 1956), p. 615, [Jean-Paul Sartre L’ être et le néant, Essai d’ ontologie phénoménologique (Paris: Gallimard, 1943, 2016), p. 805].

7

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 498, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 371].

8

1 John 4:8, in La Bible de Jérusalem (Paris: Cerf, 2011), p. 2024.

9

Stéphane Vinolo, Jean-Luc Marion – Apologie de l’ inexistence, Tome 1: La destinerrance des phénomènes (Paris, L’ Harmattan, 2019), pp. 11–26.

10

“There is nothing more effective and more just than trying to state the relation to God than by mobilizing the major categories of that relation, that is to say the erotic relation between man and woman, between creatures and other creatures.” Jean-Luc Marion, ‘Entretien sur l’ amour’ in Paroles données: Quarante entretiens, 1987–2017 (Paris, Cerf, 2021), p. 185.

11

“Love is the only concept that is not analogous; all the others are subject to analogy: Being, the Good, the Beautiful, the True, according to the principle that no matter how great the resemblance between God and the creature, a greater dissimilarity must always be found there. This principle admits only one exception: love.” Marion, Paroles données, p. 185.

12

Jean-Luc Marion, The Erotic Phenomenon: Six Meditations, trans. Stephen E. Lewis (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007), p. 222, [Jean-Luc Marion, Le phénomène érotique, Six méditations (Paris, Grasset, 2003), p. 342].

13

“The perpetual act by which the in-itself degenerates into presence to itself we shall call an ontological act. Nothingness is the putting into question of being by being – that is, precisely consciousness or for-itself. It is an absolute event which comes to being by means of being and which without having being, is perpetually sustained by being.” Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 79, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 136].

14

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 565, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 741].

15

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 566, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 743].

16

“I am the project of the recovery of my being.” Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 364, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 489].

17

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 364, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 499].

18

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 367, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 502].

19

Sartre repeatedly speaks of love as a project and sometimes even as an enterprise: “Such then is the real goal of the lover in so far as his love is an enterprise – i.e., a project of himself. This project is going to provoke a conflict.” Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 371, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 498].

20

Schopenhauer speaks of a “metaphysics of love.” Cf. Arthur Schopenhauer, Le monde comme volonté et comme représentation, trans. Auguste Burdeau (Paris, PUF, 2014), pp. 1285–1319.

21

Helen E. Fisher, Anatomy of Love: The Natural History of Monogamy, Adultery, and Divorce (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1992).

22

Robin Dunbar, The Science of Love and Betrayal (London: Faber & Faber Limited, 2012).

23

Stéphane Vinolo, Dieu n’ a que faire de l’ être (Paris: Germina, 2012).

24

Marion, Dieu sans l’ être, p. 128 [p. 86 in the English translation]. La Bible de Jérusalem translates the text into French as: “… le Dieu qui donne la vie aux morts et appelle le néant à l’ existence” (p. 1886). [Translator’s note: In English, this can be rendered as: “… the God who gives live to the dead and calls nothingness into existence”].

25

“For the world, as opposed to the one loved, has not disappeared; it remains present, here and now; in no way does the disappearance of the loved one make the world disappear; but this disappearance nevertheless strikes the appearance of the world with vanity.” Marion, God Without Being, p. 136, [Marion, Dieu sans l’ être, p 188].

26

Stéphane Vinolo, Jean-Luc Marion – Apologie de l’ inexistence, Tome 2: Une phénoménologie discursive (Paris, L’ Harmattan, 2019), pp. 185–195.

27

Marion, God Without Being, p. 138, [Marion, Dieu sans l’ être, p. 195]. For typographical reasons, God is crossed out horizontally whenas Marion does so with a St. Andrew’s cross.

28

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 366, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 491].

29

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 366, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 491].

30

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 366, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 491].

31

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 369, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 495].

32

“And since the Other is the foundation of my being-as-object, I demand of him that the free upsurge of his being should have his choice of me as his unique and absolute end; that is, that he should choose to be for the sake of founding my object-state and my facticity.” Sartre, Being and Nothingness, pp. 370–371, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 491].

33

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 371, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 497].

34

Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 497, [Translator’s note: In the English translation, Sartre’s text reads – “My existence is because it is given a name” (p. 371). Both the original context where this line is found as well as its context within the present essay appear to make “called” a more appropriate choice than “named.”].

35

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 369, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 495].

36

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 371, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 497].

37

“We made another pact: not only would neither of us ever lie to the other, but we would never conceal anything from him.” Beauvoir, ‘La force de l’ âge,’ Part One, Chapter One, in Mémoires, I, p. 371.

38

Beauvoir, Mémoires, I, p. 370.

39

Jean Terrel, Les théories du pacte social: Droit naturel, souveraineté et contrat social de Bodin à Rousseau (Paris, Seuil, 2001).

40

Marion, The Erotic Phenomenon, p. 15, [Marion, Le phénomène érotique, p. 31].

41

Jean-Luc Marion, Sur l’ ontologie grise de Descartes: Science cartésienne et savoir aristotélicien dans les Regulae (Paris: Vrin, 1975).

42

Marion, The Erotic Phenomenon, p. 18, [Marion, Le phénomène érotique, p. 36].

43

Marion, The Erotic Phenomenon, p. 20, [Marion, Le phénomène érotique, p. 39].

44

[Translator’s note: The word ‘assurance,’ which in the English translation of The Erotic Phenomenon is rendered also as ‘assurance,’ has in the French language a much more direct connection to the contractual notion of what in English is called insurance – that is, an arrangement of compensation for possible losses. English does not maintain such an explicit connection between ‘assurance’ and ‘insurance.’]

45

Marion, The Erotic Phenomenon, p. 70, [Marion, Le phénomène érotique, p. 115].

46

Marion, The Erotic Phenomenon, p. 69, [Marion, Le phénomène érotique, p. 114].

47

“When, then, does the lover appear? Precisely when, during the encounter, I suspend reciprocity, and no longer economize, engaging myself without any guarantee of assurance.” Marion, The Erotic Phenomenon, p. 78, [Marion, Le phénomène érotique, p. 128].

48

Marion, The Erotic Phenomenon, p. 79, [Marion, Le phénomène érotique, p. 129].

49

“When I love to the point of losing everything, I do gain an irrefragable assurance, one that is indestructible and unconditional, and yet solely the assurance that I love – which is enough. The lover finds an absolute assurance in love – not the assurance of being, nor of being loved, but that of loving.” Marion, The Erotic Phenomenon, pp. 73–74, [Marion, Le phénomène érotique, p. 90].

50

This transcendental subject is not quite the Kantian transcendental subject since it does not constitute the world according to a cognitive process but according to the measure of a pre-reflexive, experiential consciousness. Cf. Jean-Paul Sartre, La transcendence de l’ ego (Paris: Vrin, 1936, 1992).

51

[Translator’s note: Although ‘le regard’ is usually rendered ‘the look’ in the English translations of Sartre’s text, it is more common to find this word rendered as ‘the gaze’ instead, which seems closer to the intended meaning and, as such, will be used here.]

52

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 252, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 351].

53

“Thus the appearance among the objects of my universe, of an element of disintegration of that universe, is what I mean by the appearance of a man in my universe.” Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 255, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 354].

54

“… suddenly an object appeared which has stolen the world from me.” Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 255, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 354].

55

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 255, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 354]. Cf. on page 255 [page 355 in French text]: “None of this enables us to leave the level on which the Other is an object. At most we are dealing with a particular type of objectivity …”

56

Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 256, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 356].

57

“… I cannot be an object for an object. A radical conversion of the Other is necessary if he is to escape objectivity.” Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 257, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 356].

58

“… I have an outside, I have a nature. My original fall is the existence of the Other.” Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 263, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 363].

59

“This danger is not an accident but the permanent structure of my being-for-others.” Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 268, [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 369].

60

“Thus myself-as-object is neither knowledge nor a unity of knowledge but an uneasiness [malaise], a lived wrenching away from the ek-static unity of the for-itself, a limit which I cannot reach and which yet I am. The Other through whom this Me comes to me is neither knowledge nor category but the fact of the presence of a strange freedom” (Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 275). [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 379].

61

“… love is a conflict” (Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 366). [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 491].

62

Suzanne Lilar, À propos de Sartre et de l’ amour (Paris: Gallimard, 1967), p. 93.

63

Lilar, À propos de Sartre et de l’ amour, p. 99.

64

“Such is ultimately the project that Sartre names love and whose eccentricity catches one’s attention. For, by definition, it is reduced to the project of being loved, caring not the least for the fact of loving or confusing it with the other” (Lilar, À propos de Sartre et de l’ amour, p. 100).

65

“We were walking up l’ avenue du Maine and approaching the Rue Froidevaux, when he [Sartre] said to me in an amused and pretentious tone: “The hotel maid will be very surprised because yesterday I already took the virginity of a young girl” (Bianca Lamblin, Mémoires d’ une jeune fille dérangée (Paris, Balland, 1993), pp. 54–55).

66

“Sometimes after dinner, when brings my beer, I ask her [Françoise] – ‘Do you have time this evening?’ She never says no and I follow her into one of the big rooms on the second floor she rents by the hour or by the day. I do not pay her: our need is mutual. She takes pleasure in it (she has to have a man a day and she has many more besides me) and thus I purge myself of a certain nostalgia the cause of which I know too well. But we hardly speak” (Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea, trans. Lloyd Alexander (New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1964), pp. 6–7). [Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘La nausée,’ in Œuvres romanesques (Paris: Gallimard, 1981), p. 11].

67

“… I am neither virgin nor priest enough to play with the inner life” (Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea, trans. Lloyd Alexander (New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1964), pp. 9). [Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘La nausée,’ in Œuvres romanesques (Paris: Gallimard, 1981), p. 15].

68

“She was a virgin; in the most secret part of her body she recognized the right of Lucien alone to possess her. He would marry her, she would be his wife, the tenderest of his rights. When, in the evening, she would undress with slender, sacred gestures, it would be like a holocaust. He would take her in his arms with the approval of everyone, and tell her, ‘You belong to me!’ What she would show him she would have the right to show to him alone and for him the act of love would be a voluptuous counting of his goods.” Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘The Childhood of a Leader,’ in The Wall (Intimacy) and Other Stories, trans. Lloyed Alexander (New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1975), pp. 143–144. [Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘L’ enfance d’ un chef,’ in Œuvres romanesques (Paris, Gallimard, 1981), p. 388].

69

“I never had intercourse with a woman: I would have felt robbed” (Jean-Paul Sartre, “The Wall,” in The Wall (Intimacy) and Other Stories, trans. Lloyed Alexander (New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1975), p. 42). [Jean-Paul Satre, ‘Le mur’ in Œuvres romanesques (Paris, Gallimard, 1981), p. 388.

70

Jean-Luc Marion, ‘The Intentionality of Love,’ in Prolegomena to Charity, trans. Stephen E. Lewis (New York: Fordham University Press, 2002), pp. 74–75. [Jean-Luc Marion “L’ intentionnalité de l’ amour,” in Prolégomènes à la charité (Paris: Grasset, 1986, 2018), p. 130].

71

Marion, Prolegomena to Charity, p. 84. [Marion, Prolégomènes à la charité, p. 144].

72

“The ‘self’ of the phenomenon – as soon as it is established against objectness – transforms the I into a witness, according to a compulsory anamorphosis, because it first inverts the nominative (the subject, such as grammar posits it) into a more original dative, which designates (grammatically again) the ‘unto whom/which’ of its receiver” (Jean-Luc Marion, Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness, trans. Jeffrey L. Kosky (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), p. 249.) [Jean-Luc Marion, Étant donné, Essai d’ une phénoménologie de la donation (Paris: PUF, 1997, 2005), p. 344.

73

“My existence is because it is [called]” (Sartre, Being and Nothingness, p. 371). [Sartre, L’ être et le néant, p. 497].

74

Jean-Louis Chrétien, The Call and the Response, trans. Anne A. Davenport (New York: Fordham University Press, 2004), p. 24. [Jean-Louis Chrétien, L’ appel et la réponse (Paris: Éditions de minuit, 1992), p. 36].

75

Jean-Luc Marion, Le croire pour le voir (Paris: Parole et silence, 2010).

Bibliography

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  • Marion, Jean-Luc God Without Being. Trans. Thomas A. Carlson (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012).

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  • Vinolo, Stéphane. Jean-Luc Marion – Apologie de l’ inexistence, Tome 2: Une phénoménologie discursive (Paris: L’ Harmattan, 2019).

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