Sartre Paper - The Nothingness of Conscious An essay By...

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The Nothingness of Conscious An essay By Tosh Lloyd TA: Elodie Boublil Question: Sartre notes: “We have to deal with human reality as a being which is what it is not and which is not what it is” (The Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre, p. 150) Explain this quote with reference both to freedom and to bad faith. Discuss what Sartre means by bad faith. Why is bad faith such a fundamental structure of consciousness? Can we ever escape bad faith? Evaluate Sartre’s position. In this paper I will thoroughly analyze the quote above. I will first break the quote down in an attempt to learn more about Sartre’s core beliefs on the topic of human existence and identity. I will then proceed to demonstrate the interwoven problems that ensue. I will finally discuss my proposed solution to the problem along with what I believe to be Sartre’s position and the reasons why I disagree. This quote is one of the most important quotes in Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness” as it accurately lays out a fundamental dilemma for the nature of human existence. Before I continue any further I must first clarify a few semantics. Unless I state otherwise I will use the word ‘being’ to describe a particular type of existence (to be) rather than as a reference to an individual entity. The elegance of this quote comes largely from its ability to illustrate a great deal of Sartre’s beliefs in one fell swoop. We can infer a great deal by merely examining the wording and structure of the quote. Lets start with the first half of the quote; “We have to deal with human reality-”. First of all, the fact that he specifies “human reality” implies that to Sartre “reality” is not a concept that is concrete or universal. Put simply, “human reality” must differ from ‘other’ realities enough that it requires a separate categorization. The last part of the quote outlines a fundamental problem (that must be “deal[t] with”), which accompanies ‘human being’. “- A being which is what it is not and is not what it is”. This part is absolutely crucial in understanding 1
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human existence and the difficulties that come with it. Before we can continue any further I feel it necessary to clarify some things. First of all, without getting too metaphysical I will equate reality (that which is real) with existence (that which exists) because conceptually for something to be real it must exist and visa versa. This quality of “being” real or “being” in existence will be referred to simply as “being” (to be). We also proved that reality or existence (at least according to Sartre) is not universally equivalent. In fact there are different
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