R. D. Laing: Reason and Violence

(1026 words)
  • Daniel Burston (Duquesne University )
  • Gavin Miller (University of Glasgow)

R.D. Laing acknowledged deep intellectual debts to Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, Husserl and Heidegger, Buber and Tillich. But no existential philosopher affected him more profoundly than Jean-Paul Sartre, whose book Being and Nothingness he read in the Army in 1949 (Kirsner 2003). Beginning in the late 1950s, Laing wrote Sartre several letters, to which Sartre did not respond. However, on Simone de Beauvoir's recommendation, Sartre finally read The Divided Self in 1962, then welcomed his further correspondence. With the help of Marcelle Vincent, Laing arranged to meet with Sartre for one six-hour session in early November of 1963. Among other topics, Laing and Sartre discussed normality, fantasy, old age, mescaline and …

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Burston, Daniel, Gavin Miller. "Reason and Violence". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 August 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16850, accessed 29 September 2016.]