Phil 264 - Sartre

Phil 264 - Sartre - Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and...

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Unformatted text preview: Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness (1943) Significance of Sartre's Work: As the editors of the text point out ("Sartre's Influence"), Sartre's influence extends beyond academia and into "popular Western culture." In particular, Sartre's influence can be seen in our familiarity with such concepts as: bad faith , authenticity , anguish , and radical freedom . These concepts all relate to Sartre's central concern: what it is to be human. Sartre's views are more familiar than those of his existentialist forefathers (Husserl and Heidegger) largely because (like his contemporary Albert Camus) he expressed his views through accessible works of fiction (such as Nausea and No Exit ). 10 Central Themes from Being and Nothingness 1. Appearance vs Reality: An Untenable Dualism Recall "metaphysical realism," the view Putnam argues against in his paper "Why there isn't a ready-made world." Metaphysical realism is the view that there is a mind-independent reality - a reality beyond appearances - that we have access to. It is the job of the philosopher (according to the metaphysical realist) to theorize about this reality that exists beyond what appears to us. Sartre (and Husserl and Heidegger before him) reject this duality flat-out. What exists is "nothing more than the series of appearances which manifest [what exists]." In other words, "the being of an existent is exactly what it appears." It is the job of the philosopher to reflect on the significance of these appearances - NOT to ask about some "reality" that allegedly lies beyond them. (Question to think about: Although Putnam and Sartre both reject metaphysical realism, their reasons for doing so are quite different - or are they?) In order to understand the nature of appearance s, one has to understand the nature of consciousness , as things appear to us in our consciousness of them. For Sartre... 2. Consciousness is Always Consciousness of Something Sartre is interested in how things appear to us in consciousness. This is the data, the subject matter, of philosophy....
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This note was uploaded on 11/15/2009 for the course PHIL 264 taught by Professor Reimer during the Spring '07 term at Arizona.

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Phil 264 - Sartre - Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and...

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