Association Présence de Gabriel Marcel

Un volume, 193 p.
ISBN : 2-7113-0478-7
Nouvelle édition annotée
et préfacée
par Jeanne Parain-Vial
ditions Universitaires, Paris 1991
Prix : 23 euros
(disponible auprès de lAssociation).


First we find notes taken between 1928 and 1933, as in the Journal mtaphysique before, so that we can follow the progress of the reflection that leads to Position et approches concrtes du mystre ontologique (1933). In the thirties the idealism of Brunschvig and Bergsonism together diverted French philosophy from ontology, while Neo-Thomists were nevertheless practicing it. But Marcel, although converted to Catholicism in 1929, is far from joining a scolasticism whose objectivism he finds himself quite alien from.

The impact of conversion, however, is quite obvious. At the beginning of the book, a few rather intimate notes tell of the stunning experience of grace in the days of March 1929, at the time of his baptism. At the end of a long and sinuous way, a mysterious certainty given, Marcel will acknowledge, very early in music finds its religious expression in joining Christianity. The philosophical research always sustained by this certainty therefore gains a new dimension as Marcel finds out The secret identity of the way leading to sanctity and the one which draws the metaphysician to the affirmation of Being.

Before the Remarques sur lirreligion contemporaine and Rflexions sur la foi and La pit selon Peter Wust, the center of the book is undoubtedly Esquisse dune phnomnologie de lavoir. This text is important, notably, for the way in which the existential theme and the ontological theme  the two poles of Marcels thinking are intertwined. Finding out that The metaphysical roots of pessimism are the same as those of noncommitalness, he emphasizes the principle of despair contained in a life and a thinking stuck on Having. The more we identify with our possessions, the more we fall into a preposterous and insufferable slavery. But we are not to forever disqualify the category of having, as it is involved in the irreducible and opaque relation between me and my body. Pursuing further the critique of Descartes cogito, this seminal text lays the ground for an acknowledgment of the Incarnate Being as a central landmark of metaphysics (in Du refus linvocation, 1940).

Pierre Colin

Présence de Gabriel Marcel
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