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- Jean Paul Sartre: Existentialism
- Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980)
- The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review
The philosophical career of Jean Paul Sartre focuses, in its first phase, upon the construction of a philosophy of existence known as existentialism.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution. Rent this article via DeepDyve. First English translation, , trans. Hazel Barnes, Philosophical Library, Inc. Page numbers cited in this review refer to the Washington Square edition,
Jean Paul Sartre: Existentialism
The philosophical career of Jean Paul Sartre focuses, in its first phase, upon the construction of a philosophy of existence known as existentialism. Adopting and adapting the methods of phenomenology, Sartre sets out to develop an ontological account of what it is to be human. The main features of this ontology are the groundlessness and radical freedom which characterize the human condition. These are contrasted with the unproblematic being of the world of things.
So the unity of the self is understood as a task for the for-itself rather than as a given. Our only way to escape self-deception is authenticity, that is, choosing in a way which reveals the existence of the for-itself as both factual and transcendent. For Sartre, my proper exercise of freedom creates values that any other human being placed in my situation could experience, therefore each authentic project expresses a universal dimension in the singularity of a human life.
Finally, an overview is provided of the further development of existentialist themes in his later works. Sartre was born in in Paris. This was his passport to a teaching career. His phenomenological investigation into the imagination was published in and his Theory of Emotions two years later.
During the Second World War, Sartre wrote his existentialist magnum opus Being and Nothingness and taught the work of Heidegger in a war camp. Being and Nothingness was published in and Existentialism and Humanism in His study of Baudelaire was published in and that of the actor Jean Genet in In , after three years working on it, Sartre published the Critique of Dialectical Reason. He was a high profile figure in the Peace Movement. In , he turned down the Nobel prize for literature.
He was actively involved in the May uprising. In , he claimed no longer to be a Marxist, but his political activity continued until his death in This means that the acts by which consciousness assigns meaning to objects are what is analysed, and that what is sought in the particular examples under examination is their essential structure. Sartre puts his own mark on this view by presenting consciousness as being transparent, i.
For Sartre, the task of an eidetic analysis does not deliver something fixed immanent to the phenomenon. It still claims to uncover that which is essential, but thereby recognizes that phenomenal experience is essentially fluid. Emotion originates in a degradation of consciousness faced with a certain situation.
Faced with an object which poses an insurmountable problem, the subject attempts to view it differently, as though it were magically transformed.
Thus an imminent extreme danger may cause me to faint so that the object of my fear is no longer in my conscious grasp. Or, in the case of wrath against an unmovable obstacle, I may hit it as though the world were such that this action could lead to its removal. In The Psychology of the Imagination , Sartre demonstrates his phenomenological method by using it to take on the traditional view that to imagine something is to have a picture of it in mind.
So there is no internal structure to the imagination. It is rather a form of directedness upon the imagined object. Imagining a heffalump is thus of the same nature as perceiving an elephant. Both are spontaneous intentional or directed acts, each with its own type of intentionality.
Such a move is not warranted for Sartre, as he explains in The Transcendence of the Ego. Moreover, it leads to the following problems for our phenomenological analysis of consciousness. The ego would have to feature as an object in all states of consciousness.
This would result in its obstructing our conscious access to the world. But this would conflict with the direct nature of this conscious access. Correlatively, consciousness would be divided into consciousness of ego and consciousness of the world.
This would however be at odds with the simple, and thus undivided, nature of our access to the world through conscious experience. In other words, when I am conscious of a tree, I am directly conscious of it, and am not myself an object of consciousness. Sartre proposes therefore to view the ego as a unity produced by consciousness. In other words, he adds to the Humean picture of the self as a bundle of perceptions, an account of its unity.
This unity of the ego is a product of conscious activity. As a result, the traditional Cartesian view that self-consciousness is the consciousness the ego has of itself no longer holds, since the ego is not given but created by consciousness. What model does Sartre propose for our understanding of self-consciousness and the production of the ego through conscious activity? An example of pre-reflective consciousness is the seeing of a house.
This type of consciousness is directed to a transcendent object, but this does not involve my focussing upon it, i. Importantly, Sartre insists that self-consciousness is involved in any such state of consciousness: it is the consciousness this state has of itself.
Reflective consciousness is the type of state of consciousness involved in my looking at a house. In so doing, reflective consciousness takes the pre-reflectively conscious as being mine. By substituting his model of a two-tiered consciousness for this traditional picture, Sartre provides an account of self-consciousness that does not rely upon a pre-existing ego, and shows how an ego is constructed in reflection. Through them, he opposes the view, which is for instance that of the Freudian theory of the unconscious, that there are psychological factors that are beyond the grasp of our consciousness and thus are potential excuses for certain forms of behaviour.
As a result, accounts of agency cannot appeal to a pre-existing ego to explain certain forms of behaviour. Rather, conscious acts are spontaneous, and since all pre-reflective consciousness is transparent to itself, the agent is fully responsible for them and a fortiori for his ego.
In the case of the imaginary, the traditional view of the power of fancy to overcome rational thought is replaced by one of imaginary consciousness as a form of pre-reflective consciousness.
As such, it is therefore again the result of the spontaneity of consciousness and involves self-conscious states of mind.
To dispel the apparent counter-intuitiveness of the claims that emotional states and flights of imagination are active, and thus to provide an account that does justice to the phenomenology of these states, spontaneity must be clearly distinguished from a voluntary act. A voluntary act involves reflective consciousness that is connected with the will; spontaneity is a feature of pre-reflective consciousness.
Sartre sets up his own picture of the individual human being by first getting rid of its grounding in a stable ego. As Sartre later puts it in Existentialism is a Humanism , to be human is characterised by an existence that precedes its essence. Let us now examine the central themes of this theory as they are presented in Being and Nothingness.
Being and Nothingness can be characterized as a phenomenological investigation into the nature of what it is to be human, and thus be seen as a continuation of, and expansion upon, themes characterising the early works. In contrast with these however, an ontology is presented at the outset and guides the whole development of the investigation. One of the main features of this system, which Sartre presents in the introduction and the first chapter of Part One, is a distinction between two kinds of transcendence of the phenomenon of being.
The first is the transcendence of being and the second that of consciousness. This means that, starting with the phenomenon that which is our conscious experience , there are two types of reality which lie beyond it, and are thus trans-phenomenal. On the one hand, there is the being of the object of consciousness, and on the other, that of consciousness itself. These define two types of being, the in-itself and the for-itself.
To bring out that which keeps them apart, involves understanding the phenomenology of nothingness. This reveals consciousness as essentially characterisable through its power of negation, a power which plays a key role in our existential condition. Let us examine these points in more detail. In Being and Time , Heidegger presents the phenomenon as involving both a covering and a disclosing of being.
For Sartre, the phenomenon reveals, rather than conceals, reality. What is the status of this reality? Sartre considers the phenomenalist option of viewing the world as a construct based upon the series of appearances. He points out that the being of the phenomenon is not like its essence, i. Just as the being of the phenomenon transcends the phenomenon of being, consciousness also transcends it. Sartre thus establishes that if there is perceiving, there must be a consciousness doing the perceiving.
How are these two transphenomenal forms of being related? As opposed to a conceptualising consciousness in a relation of knowledge to an object, as in Husserl and the epistemological tradition he inherits, Sartre introduces a relation of being: consciousness in a pre-reflective form is directly related to the being of the phenomenon. It differs from the latter in two essential respects.
First, it is not a practical relation, and thus distinct from a relation to the ready-to-hand. Rather, it is simply given by consciousness. Second, it does not lead to any further question of Being. For Sartre, all there is to being is given in the transphenomenality of existing objects, and there is no further issue of the Being of all beings as for Heidegger. As we have seen, both consciousness and the being of the phenomenon transcend the phenomenon of being.
It exists in a fully determinate and non-relational way. This fully characterizes its transcendence of the conscious experience. In contrast with the in-itself, the for-itself is mainly characterised by a lack of identity with itself. This is a consequence of the following. It has no nature beyond this and is thus completely translucent. Insofar as the for-itself always transcends the particular conscious experience because of the spontaneity of consciousness , any attempt to grasp it within a conscious experience is doomed to failure.
Indeed, as we have already seen in the distinction between pre-reflective and reflective consciousness, a conscious grasp of the first transforms it. This means that it is not possible to identify the for-itself, since the most basic form of identification, i. This picture is clearly one in which the problematic region of being is that of the for-itself, and that is what Being and Nothingness will focus upon.
But at the same time, another important question arises. Indeed, insofar Sartre has rejected the notion of a grounding of all beings in Being, one may ask how something like a relation of being between consciousness and the world is possible.
This issue translates in terms of understanding the meaning of the totality formed by the for-itself and the in-itself and its division into these two regions of being. By addressing this latter issue, Sartre finds the key concept that enables him to investigate the nature of the for-itself.
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980)
In the book, Sartre develops a philosophical account in support of his existentialism , dealing with topics such as consciousness, perception, social philosophy , self-deception, the existence of "nothingness", psychoanalysis , and the question of free will. While a prisoner of war in and , Sartre read Martin Heidegger 's Being and Time , which uses the method of Husserlian phenomenology as a lens for examining ontology. Sartre attributed the course of his own philosophical inquiries to his exposure to this work. Though influenced by Heidegger, Sartre was profoundly skeptical of any measure by which humanity could achieve a kind of personal state of fulfillment comparable to the hypothetical Heideggerian "re-encounter with Being". In Sartre's account, man is a creature haunted by a vision of "completion" what Sartre calls the ens causa sui , meaning literally "a being that causes itself" , which many religions and philosophers identify as God. Born into the material reality of one's body, in a material universe, one finds oneself inserted into being. In accordance with Husserl's notion that consciousness can only exist as consciousness of something, Sartre develops the idea that there can be no form of self that is "hidden" inside consciousness.
The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review
Sartre — is arguably the best known philosopher of the twentieth century. His indefatigable pursuit of philosophical reflection, literary creativity and, in the second half of his life, active political commitment gained him worldwide renown, if not admiration. He is commonly considered the father of Existentialist philosophy, whose writings set the tone for intellectual life in the decade immediately following the Second World War. Though taken as a quasi manifesto for the Existentialist movement, the transcript of this lecture was the only publication that Sartre openly regretted seeing in print.
Ontology means the study of being; phenomenological means of or relating to perceptual consciousness. Kant was an idealist, believing that we have no direct way of perceiving the external world and that all we have access to is our ideas of the world, including what our senses tell us.
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Translated with an introduction by Hazel E. New York: Philosophical Library, Sartre's major philosophical work, L'Etre et le Neant, appeared in French in Until now, the American image of Sartre has been based largely on his literary, rather than his philosophical, output.
Дэвид, - сказал наконец Стратмор мрачным голосом, - обнаружение этого кольца - вопрос национальной безопасности. Я возлагаю эту задачу на. Не подведите .
Он попытался что-то сказать, но Сьюзан была полна решимости. Ей хотелось поскорее оказаться в Третьем узле, и она достаточно хорошо изучила своего шефа, чтобы знать: Стратмор никуда не уйдет, пока она не разыщет ключ, спрятанный где-то в компьютере Хейла. Ей почти удалось проскользнуть внутрь, и теперь она изо всех сил пыталась удержать стремившиеся захлопнуться створки, но на мгновение выпустила их из рук. Створки стали стремительно сближаться.
Халохот был мертв. Беккер отшвырнул пистолет и без сил опустился на ступеньку. Впервые за целую вечность он почувствовал, что глаза его застилают слезы, и зажмурился, прогоняя влажную пелену. Он знал, что для эмоций еще будет время, а теперь пора отправляться домой. Он попробовал встать, но настолько выбился из сил, что не смог ступить ни шагу и долго сидел, изможденный вконец, на каменных ступеньках, рассеянно разглядывая распростертое у его ног тело.
Если до этого Хейл не знал, что они идут, то теперь отлично это понял. Стратмор нажал несколько кнопок и, прочитав полученное сообщение, тихо застонал. Из Испании опять пришли плохие новости - не от Дэвида Беккера, а от других, которых он послал в Севилью. В трех тысячах миль от Вашингтона мини-автобус мобильного наблюдения мчался по пустым улицам Севильи. Он был позаимствован АНБ на военной базе Рота в обстановке чрезвычайной секретности.
Прошу меня извинить, - пробормотал Беккер, застегивая пряжку на ремне. - Мужская комната оказалась закрыта… но я уже ухожу. - Ну и проваливай, пидор.
Правда. Самый гнусный Веллингтон из всех, что мне доводилось пробовать. Самая грязная ванна, какую мне доводилось видеть.
Если нет, он войдет и будет двигаться на восток, держа в поле зрения правый угол, единственное место, где мог находиться Беккер. Он улыбнулся. ОБЪЕКТ: ДЭВИД БЕККЕР - ЛИКВИДИРОВАН Пора. Халохот проверил оружие, решительно направился вперед и осмотрел площадку. Левый угол пуст.
Телефонистка нервно проглотила слюну. - На этой машине нет автоматического определителя номера, сэр. Я позвоню в телефонную компанию.
Вам нужен ключ.