Section III: introduction

Huon Wardle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This section of the handbook is concerned with the Self-Other relationship in existential enquiry and with other-directedness as a characteristic of the experience of self-making. Coming to a discussion of these issues, our expectations about what existentialism has to say about care for, or faith in, the Other may well be coloured by Sartre's famous statement that ‘Hell is other people’. For Sartre, the relationship of Self and Other is characterized by elements of misrecognition and duplicity that are rooted in the fundamental conflict of self with its own being. In this regard, Murdoch has described as ‘Satanic’ the absence of a regulative notion of ‘the sovereignty of good’ in Sartre's phenomenology. But this perhaps misses the argumentative dimension: Sartre writes against phenomenologies that have failed to acknowledge the aspects of self-experience he is describing. This raises the question of what should be the best techniques for describing and analysing ideas such as empathy, care or faith? Certainly, the conflicts Sartre or Laing have described may lead to a paralysis in the individual's ability to understand their own life or to take moral action, but they may equally open possibilities for creative reappraisal and revivified agency. There may indeed be many possible phenomenological descriptions of experiences like these. It seems likely that we will need different vocabularies and languages to discuss them and analyse them.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge international handbook of existential human science
EditorsHuon Wardle, Nigel Rapport, Albert Piette
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781003156697
ISBN (Print)9780367742317, 9780367742348
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge international handbooks


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