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The Problem of the Work of Art in Sartre’s Theory of Imagination: The Possibility of Imagination beyond Subjectivity

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2024, 71(), pp.78-97
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.71.0.04
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : December 11, 2023
  • Accepted : January 13, 2024
  • Published : February 28, 2024

Sol Lee 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines Sartre’s changing views on the ontology of the work of art in relation to the problem of solipsism, and aims to show that Sartre’s change of perspective on the imaginary object is based on the ontological turn in Being and Nothingness. In Sartre’s early theory of the Image, the Imagination is characterized as a subjective fantasy, as evidenced by the proposition that “the work of art is unreal.” By severing the connection between the material of the imagination and the imagined object, and by identifying nothingness as the inherent quality of imaginative activity, Sartre exposes the imagination to the dangers of subjectivism. This paper will point out that Sartre’s early theory of the imagination suffers from the problem of solipsism and show that his later theory of art moves toward overcoming this problem. In Situation Ⅱ, Sartre argues that a work of art is intended for the other and is produced with the cooperation of the other. And insofar as a work of art is shaped by interaction with others, a solipsistic interpretation of the work of art becomes impossible in principle. By showing that the work is shaped by the reader, just as I am shaped by others, Sartre has moved beyond the solipsistic world in which everything exists according to my prior knowledge, to an intersubjective world in which the work is shaped for and by others.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.