Un fait injustifiable: How else to approach memory and intentionality in Sartre?

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Involuntary memories raise worries for any notion of constitution of memorial experiences and of the relationship between subjectivity, the past, and intentionality. However, this does not mean they are wholly intractable for an intentional analysis of consciousness. To the contrary, if one avoids conflating the will with thetic or express intentional acts, the Sartrean notion of intentionality is well-placed to account for the most salient features of involuntary memories, without resorting to appeals to non-subjective memorial processes in which any sense of implication or investment in the content of involuntary memory seems difficult to locate. To make this case, two steps are taken. The first is to map out a Sartrean phenomenology of memory, by taking into consideration how his notions of intentional consciousness, absence, and lack play out at the level of memory. The second is to examine how the Sartrean model of intentional consciousness appears to be well-adapted to the phenomenal traits most salient to involuntary memories. The upshot of such an examination is a provocative phenomenological position on the nature of the resistance of the past and on doing justice to the past, that is, in regard to how memorial intentionality ought be conceived when involuntary memories contribute to the rule rather than merely being an exception in the experience of the past.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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