Abstract
This paper examines the tools used to mediate intersubjectivity as a central element in Jean-Paul Sartre’s phenomenological theory of ensembles. It first presents a brief account of ordinary individuals acting in and through violent groups from the viewpoints of psychology and phenomenology. Next, using Sartre’s ontology of consciousness, the paper establishes the phenomenological structure of consciousness and intersubjectivity to explain, with recent psychological findings, how individual agents in violent groups come to deny their moral responsibility for the group’s ideology and action. Finally, through Sartre’s theory of ensembles, the paper shows how collectives of individuals evolve into groups. In violent groups, instruments of terror are used to mediate intersubjective relationships, and this explains how individual perpetrators and those complicit may sense a lack of control and perceive that they have diminished moral responsibility even though they are responsible for collective violence.
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-021-09790-7
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