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“A Dream, Dreamed by Reason … Hollow Like All Dreams”: French Existentialism and Its Critique of Abstract Liberalism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 March 2020


The recent claiming of Simone de Beauvoir's legacy by French feminists for a policy of assimilation of Muslim women to Western models of self and society reduces the complexity and richness of Beauvoir's views in inacceptable ways. This article explores to what extent a politics of difference that challenges the ideals and political strategies of abstract liberalism can be extracted from and legitimized by the philosophies of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Without assuming their thought is identical, we can read them as elucidating each other and as implicitly exposing weak and strong points in their respective philosophies on ethnocultural relations and social identities.

Copyright © 2010 by Hypatia, Inc.

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