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fuller discussion in Being and Nothingness; second, I should like to dis cuss a few of In this same article Sartre lays down two fundamental principles con cerning the . sesses of wavering back and forth, demanding the privileges of a free. (eBook - PDF - Philosophy) Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre of philosophy at the Lycée Condorçet in Paris.. essays. you can't turn down the Even vague and free-floating fears have objects — vague and free-floating ones. 1. Being and nothingness: an essay on phenomenological ontology. [Jean-Paul for a Library. Create lists, bibliographies and reviews: Sign in or create a free account Edition/Format: eBook: Document: EnglishView all editions and formats. Summary: .. rdfs:comment "for this downloadable OverDrive eBook. Library card.

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Being and Nothingness contains the basic tenets of his thought. A work . In this same article Sartre lays down two fundamental principles concerning the pre- reflective .. It was never able either to choose not to be, or to choose not to be free. Download ebook for print-disabled Download Protected DAISY. Other editions of this book may be available: Check Other Editions. Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology (French: His overriding concern in writing the book was to demonstrate that free will exists.

All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to copy this document in whole or in part for any purpose whatever, provided only that acknowledgment of copyright is given. Getting Started Life and Works But it will be quite a while before we actually get into that. I have not asked you to buy this book, but it is available on reserve.

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Please enter the message. Please verify that you are not a robot. Would you also like to submit a review for this item? You already recently rated this item. Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. Being and nothingness: Jean-Paul Sartre Publisher: New York: English View all editions and formats Summary: Often criticized, and all too rarely understood, the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre encompasses the dilemmas and aspirations of the individual in contemporary society.

The principal text of the modern existentialist movement, Being and Nothingness contains the basic tenets of his thought. A work of inherent power and epic score, it provides a vivid analysis for all who would understand one of the most influential philosophic movements of our time.

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Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Electronic books Additional Physical Format: Print version: Sartre, Jean-Paul, Nevertheless, we should get far enough along that, by the time we are done, you will have the background to be able to read the rest of the book on your own — if you should wish to.

And you should wish to. In my judgment, Being and Nothingness is probably the single best piece of philosophy written in the 20th century. There is lots of good philosophy in the 20 century, but this book has a kind of sweep and scope that, as far as I know, no other work has in this century. What are the alternatives? This is not just because the earlier parts are presupposed by the later ones.

This is an excellent article. He had some kind of research assistantship there. He then went to Germany. As I said. Permission is hereby granted to copy this document in whole or in part for any purpose whatever. A fairly good account for those just getting started.

Alisdair MacIntyre. I hope to convince you of this during the course of the semester. The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction. This book is now. A pretty good overview. A Collection of Critical Essays. Herbert Spiegelberg. An OK article. Let me suggest some background reading before we get started: Frederick A. I think. This is not the same as the previous article. But all these. They provide a rich source of examples.

But of course the war was still going on. Main Writings: He spent his time there writing and directing plays for his fellow prisoners. In he was mobilized and drafted into the French army. After the war he continued to do this right up to the time of his death.

I do not know which is correct. While I am not going to insist on your knowing all the grimy details. His earliest publications come from But Spiegelberg1 says he resigned his position there in These are two short pieces of fiction.

Sartre actually met Heidegger at one point.. In the flyleaf to Being and Nothingness says he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. He was and remains a Nobel laureate. In any case. After nine months. He was always involved in political and literary issues. All during this time. The little biographical sketch on the back flyleaf of the English Being and Nothingness says he held this position until All of these have been translated.

Sartre was also interested from the very beginning in psychology. For Sartre. Richard McCleary. Small-Town Schoolteacher. This is one of those journals where the division into volumes is out of synch with the calendar year.

I The Phenomenological Period The cover of our paperback translation says But the philosophy of his third period is fair game for your paper topics.

The book is basically a discussion of the nature of consciousness. You see both dates given. Les Recherches philosophiques. I think the correct date is In this work. As a result.. Among the earliest of his works. Northwestern University Press. It is immensely rich. In this course. Volume 2: Selected Prose. The problem is that it came out in a journal. The Writings of Jean-Paul Sartre. There are other things as well from these early years.

But there is one passage that will be central to our understanding of a lot of things in Sartre. Probably the most important novel from this period and probably his most important novel of all is: We will not be reading it directly in this class.

There is an outline of it in the course packet. In these two early books. He was influenced by phenomenology for a long time. This too is a very interesting little study. There is a copy on reserve in the main library. Sartre wrote a book on the emotions. Most of the book will be simply background reading.

It is marked by his magnum opus: It depends on how the course goes. I have asked you to buy it for this course. It is an interesting book. II The Existential Period The title is The Emotions: Also during this early period.

It was published in Published in A Psychological Critique. I was originally going to ask you to read this book for our course. This is a huge work. If you have not already read it. I have a discussion of the essay in the course packet. A short and very fine play with strong philosophical overtones.

For our purposes. Being and Nothingness is an ontological analysis of human existence. Parts of it can be readily understood without any special preparation.

I am going to ask you to read this pleasant little essay in connection with this course. Everything else we will be reading this semester will be simply to elucidate or elaborate on the themes in Being and Nothingness. This is a study of Anti-Semitism. It is a very uneven work. I should mention three other items: The book is non-technical. Parts of it are truly famous. In fact. Sartre published a brief essay: Pay particular attention to that discussion.

In effect. Part of it a jargon-laden and deliberately obscure. It is very exciting — in my opinion. The theory is not a pretty one.

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In the same year It is our main text for this course. In this essay it was originally a public lecture. These new themes concern the social order. But it is perhaps better regarded as just a kind of going beyond Being and Nothingness to consider themes that were not very well developed in that earlier work.

In the original French. There was a second volume. Actor and Martyr When the Critique was published in Search for a Method was not included in that volume since it had already been translated separately. The main work here is: In a late interview. As you will see from your reading about Sartre. This is a kind of philosophical biographical study of Jean Genet. It was translated by Hazel Barnes the translator of Being and Nothingness in Some people describe this work as an abandonment of the existentialism of Being and Nothingness.

A rather interesting discussion. The Critique proper was translated by Alan Sheridan-Smith in He could not accept Marxist materialism. After that. We have only touched on some of the main ones. And it seems to be interminable! In addition. We will read Transcendence of the Ego a crucial book. The preliminary material is not just a delay. In any event. The first volume of it was published in So — be aware — we will spend a big part of the semester before we ever get to Being and Nothingness.

This tradition came to a kind of peak in Hegel. I have to qualify that a bit. Scholars of Hegel himself will have a different point of view. The Reactionary Stream: A stream typified by Nietzsche the first person mentioned by name in Being and Nothingness.

This is an enormous multi-volume philosophical biography of Gustave Flaubert. Program of Events Here is our plan of attack: I will begin by talking a little about Descartes and Kant.

I have not read any part of this work. Once again. We need to do something radically new. The scientist is not interested in what happens to a particular specimen of a chemical in a test tube. It tried to systematize everything in one complete theory of reality. From a slightly different angle. The old-style philosophy tried to categorize everything in nice. And there he was regarded as a kind of arch-rationalist of all time. The reaction included Kierkegaard and Nietzsche in the nineteenth century.

There was a reaction against this kind of thinking. Oddly enough. But before we get to Sartre.


Sartre inherited: It did this to such an extent that the rational categories came to be viewed as more interesting. From this reactionary stream. He is interested in this only insofar as it reveals something about the general laws governing all similar cases. And furthermore. We find this emphasis whenever we do science.

Hegel was almost totally unknown in France until after Word War I. The individual cannot appeal to general principles or universal laws of human or social behavior to shift the burden of responsibility for his actions off his own shoulders.

He studied in Vienna in part under the great Franz Brentano. You should know about the following works. They are most evident when Sartre is discussing the ethical. The reaction against this switched the emphasis to the individual. Life and Works Husserl was born in Sartre got this influence through Husserl.

This theme is not so strong in all authors in this tradition. It is perhaps not so strong in Nietzsche. The first part of this work appeared in The Phenomenological Stream: The second main stream that influenced Sartre was phenomenology. It is this influence that I want to begin with in this class. But it is there in Kierkegaard. He died in This influence is most evident when Sartre is discussing the metaphysical and epistemological sides of his philosophy.

In order to see what is going on here. Both are important for understanding what Sartre is up to in Transcendence of the Ego and elsewhere. But how can we be certain of the correspondence between cognition and the object cognized? How can knowledge transcend itself and reach its object reliably?

This was hardly a new problem. We do know that he was not himself at the lectures when they were given. I will want to discuss what it is a transition from and what it is a transition to. This is perhaps his main work. Cognition in all of its manifestations is a psychic act. The problem Husserl is addressing in these lectures is. It is already to be found in Descartes in the seventeenth century. And it is something I would like to know.

From the later period. I do not know exactly how much Sartre knew about the material of these lectures. The objects cognized stand over and against the cognition. There were also many later writings. While he was preparing the lectures. So it an epistemological problem. So I am not talking about it because it was influential on Sartre there is no evidence that it was.

There is no reason to think Sartre knew anything about The Idea of Phenomenology at all. I should perhaps mention: Here is how he puts the question in Lecture I p.

Husserl also wrote a kind of private outline to himself. Husserl was a tremendously prolific writer. Husserl was in the middle of a major transition stage in his own thinking.

This too was a series of lectures. I think Descartes was absolutely right so far. Descartes regarded as a scandal. It follows. We can avoid mistakes if we refuse to allow our desire for certainty to outrun our real ability to know. The fact that philosophers can never agree on anything.

Being and nothingness : an essay on phenomenological ontology (eBook, ) []

The basic problem. Descartes thought we could avoid error by confining ourselves to those thing that appear to us so clearly and distinctly that there is simply no room for error. And he thought the situation could be corrected. After Descartes. How did he propose to do this. This ideal of philosophy is a very old one. Descartes was concerned with the problem of error and how to avoid it in his philosophy.

Husserl thought that philosophy should be a presuppositionless science that takes nothing whatever for granted. We find it. But in part. Our desire for knowledge goes far beyond what we can actually know. In short. In his Meditations.

Descartes thought the situation in philosophy could be corrected. We will see it referred to time and again in Husserl and Sartre.. In this case.

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So far. As somewhat more typical cases of what Descartes has in mind. Phenomenology is not a matter of forming inductive theories to explain phenomena.

Well now. Any such going beyond the directly given is risky and subject to error. In the end. As soon as we begin to reason from the phenomena to something else — to argue from what is directly given to us to something that is not directly given to us.

That is. I avoid all risk of error as long as I confine myself to a description of the phenomena. I am aware of my own existence. Husserl would accept everything we have said so far. And what are these? I am directly aware only of the way things appear to me — the appearances. The first identity is a substantive claim.

In general. I am not directly aware of the way they are in themselves. So it is as if we are in a kind of mental movie-theater. It involves discipline and training. He holds that the phenomena. Descartes adds one additional principle that is important. The threat here is solipsism — the view that I alone exist. I and the contents of my mind. This too is a substantive claim. Husserl makes this point again and again.

As a result. There is a kind of aesthetic exuberance in much phenomenological writing. It is a matter of learning to see all over again. Recall the example of the oar in the water. My impression of the oar is a content of my mind.

The phenomena are all mental events. Given this. The phenomena are what we see on our movie screen. How can we ever know anything about what is really going on outside the mental movie-theater? As he says. How are we going to rule out solipsism? How can we avoid the possibility that it might be correct?

How are we going to be sure of anything outside my own mind? But now back to Descartes. Training in phenomenology is rather like the training a painter gets. The painter must learn to be sensitive to nuances that all of us in a sense see.

Being and nothingness : an essay on phenomenological ontology

How can we be certain of the correspondence between cognition and object cognized? Everything else is just a dream. We will see some of this at its best in Sartre. Descartes tried. But Kant went further than this. God would not deceive us about the oar in the water any more than he would deceive us about other things.

But before we look at how he does this. And on this theory. And he does. But we obviously do make mistakes. The only way we could ever be sure that our phenomena are accurate representations of external realities would be to look at the phenomena. The only things. As he himself sets it up. Of course. In order to see what they are. By what right can Descartes claim to be sure that God exists.

Kant Immanuel Kant realized what Descartes should have realized: The mind in fact contributes a great deal to the phenomena. It is active. For Descartes. Kant claimed. But the doctrine is very much an authentically Kantian one. What determines which way it is seen? So true is this that. My mind organizes the perceptual data in the one way or in the other. All it did was watch them. The phenomenon. Things- in-Themselves Ego.

Self Phenomena Now Kant argued as follows: Descartes in effect assumed that the mind contributed nothing to the phenomena. But that same pattern can be seen in two different ways. In other words. It imposes a certain organization. I can learn to flip-flop from the one to the other at will. This organizing and interpreting function of the mind is what is called Constitution — and it is very important. In both cases. This need not be taken literally as a visual perspective.

In brief. All my descriptions — indeed. Without it. This implicit reference to a point of view or perspective is inevitable.

What does the claim mean? He says that: You can see this readily in the example of the Gestalt figure. Even if I do not explicitly make reference to that point of view or perspective. Sartre refers to this claim at the very beginning of Transcendence of the Ego — on p.

Why is this important? It is important because it means that all our concepts. Get that notion down. What you are demanding is obviously contradictory. Things-in-themselves are whatever they are with no special reference to us. You are saying: I want to discuss how things are apart from any particular point of view or perspective. I want to discuss how things are. We always see things from our own point of view.

And so we are always biased. I think this would be all there was to it. If you have a view that says it is the mind that determines which is foreground and which is background in that figure. I want to talk about how they are all by themselves. The basic idea here is this: Now our biases may really be correct. And here I think the example of the Gestalt figure illustrates the point quite clearly. I want to consider them apart from the very precondition under which alone I can have any experience or any concepts at all.

And what the theory says is: I must add that Kant was quite certain that there were such mysterious things-in-themselves out there. The whole Kantian picture is that. I want to stress this now.

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So of course. Having said that. Now the theory of constitution may in fact not be right. That would just amount to wondering whether your theory is right in the first place. So the picture we get with Kant is like this: All we really need are the raw data of cognition. Kant cannot know that.

And eventually. Kant showed that that question is incoherent. But I thought causality was one of those categories that we were forbidden under pain of contradiction to attribute to things-in-themselves. First of all. Now of course there are obvious problems with this theory. So now our picture is like this: Here I am in my phenomenal theater. It was a doctrine that had some currency after Kant. The answer.

And in fact. How can I be sure that the projector. There are really three main premises that get us to the point we have arrived at: The phenomena are all mental. When Kant realized that the mind itself contributes to the phenomena. Remember the raw data Kant was worried about.

You put 1 and 2 together. In terms of our movie-theater model. So I think it will be useful to review how we got here. This is the point of the doctrine of constitution. But now the story has changed. By itself. The whole phenomenal world I am aware of is simply a story the mind is telling itself — the mind itself is the cause of it. Kant still wanted to have some kind of thing-in-itself outside the theater.

It inevitably leads to absurdity and contradiction to try to talk about things-in- themselves. In order to do this. It contributes a perspective or point of view that. We can already see some glimmerings of what is to come in the later sections of The Idea of Phenomenology. In his early philosophy. They were attracted by the promise of the way out of the seemingly inevitable idealism.

And he did. He rejected step 2. Husserl had a doctrine that promised to break out of this bind. The doctrine of Constitution. So there developed a split in the phenomenological movement. And then there were the others.

Ingarden and the others must have done so. On the one hand. The Idea of Phenomenology Again After telling the above story. I think we can see that what goes on in The Idea of Phenomenology. The book begins with the astonishing sentence: I have often asked myself why Husserl.

In Lecture I. But he was never able to persuade others of this. For example. It sounds a lot like Descartes. Husserl himself resisted the doctrine. Husserl seemed remarkably incapable of explaining to his students the reasoning that led him to adopt his later idealism. With this as background.

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Yet the two disciplines are closely parallel. Husserl says. But when we adopt the natural standpoint. Husserl himself describes all this in a very dry. In that case. I said. See p. Of course p. Husserl was a terrible writer! But it is not hard to see what he is doing. Husserl recognizes p.

Sometimes too we make inductive errors — we infer general hypotheses from the particular data. This is the assumption that. For Husserl. So much for the method we employ from the natural standpoint. When we adopt this attitude.

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He is in effect describing scientific method. If it is a matter of logical error in the deductive reasoning. We observe particular objects. But we also employ deductive reasoning. When this happens and when we find it out.

I mention this because Husserl contrasts psychology very sharply with his own phenomenology. This is inductive reasoning. This is the attitude the mind adopts when it is engaged.

We know how to handle them. But in fact. You might think that psychology is an exception. But I am not worried about the general question how — or even whether — the mind can really get at any objective facts at all.

When I am doing biology. This then is the natural attitude. How can we get at the realities behind the appearances? How can we break out of our own minds and get to anything beyond? The natural standpoint takes all this for granted — that we can get at reliable. The fact that the objects we study in psychology are so close to us makes no difference — and in fact may make things harder!

Husserl thinks. It is exactly this possibility that we take for granted in the natural standpoint. I may be worried about getting the facts straight. Look again at the passage we have already read from p. Now of course the problem Husserl is describing here. There we implicitly assume we are able to get at objective and unbiased data about our own minds and their contents.

Once we withdraw ourselves from the business of pragmatic and scientific engagements and begin to reflect, the implicit assumption of the natural standpoint becomes a real problem for us. We begin to see that we should not take it for granted. This is exactly what happened to Descartes. And this realization requires a real change of attitude. It is not a small thing. It requires that we put away our pragmatic and scientific interests for a time, to look at their foundations.

This is no small matter — it requires a complete shifting of mental perspective. It requires, for instance, a certain amount of leisure and freedom from external pressures. Descartes tells us at the beginning of his Meditations the kind of circumstances that are required for this peculiarly philosophical kind of attitude:. The present is opportune for my design; I have freed my mind of all kinds of cares; I feel myself, fortunately, distracted by no passions; and I have found a serene retreat in peaceful solitude.

The point of this is that the philosophical attitude and the natural attitude are mutually exclusive. You can be in the one or the other, but not both at once. They are incompatible. On pp. We shall have to see how these two characterizations of phenomenology fit together in the end.

That will be a long story. That is what it must answer. It must investigate what the natural standpoint takes for granted. Phenomenology is therefore a theory of knowledge; a critique of natural cognition.

But how is it going to proceed? It cannot proceed the way the usual sciences do, by starting with particular data, and then proceeding to construct general theories to explain those data.

It is the very possibility of getting at those particular data to begin with that is in question here. So philosophy — or phenomenology, which is the same thing for Husserl — is not going to be just one science among many. Some people have a view of philosophy that does think of philosophy this way: Philosophy as simply the most general and broadest of all the sciences.

Philosophy for Husserl is going to require an entirely new method. Philosophy, so to speak, goes off in a completely new dimension. Philosophy still paraphrasing the text is going to have to try to answer the question of the possibility of knowledge — that is, of the correspondence between our thought and.

It is going to have to investigate what cognition is and what it is to be an object of cognition, and then try to see what correspondence, if any, there is between the two. Or, as Husserl himself puts it p. What I have just given you is a brief summary of Lecture I. In effect, Lecture I sets up the problem that is going to be addressed in the rest of the book. In the remaining lectures, there are three main points I want to focus on:. Instead, I will discuss it under the heading of constitution.

This is what on p. In all these cases, we are talking about the same thing, although the terminology is a little fluid. What then is the phenomenological reduction? In other words, once I adopt the phenomenological reduction, I no longer infer or argue on the basis of the phenomena to something further. I stay at the level of phenomena and simply describe them. In effect, this means I reject the method of the natural attitude, which — you recall — involved inference.

Phenomenology is not an argumentative discipline; it is a descriptive one. Husserl accepts it. He describes this step in various ways in various places:. The idea is that our job is simply to describe the phenomena on our mental movie-screen.

It is not our job to try to decide whether the phenomena we see represent really existing objects out there. Sometimes in the secondary literature you see the claim made that Sartre rejects the phenomenological reduction. In fact, this whole issue rests on some terminological sloppiness. But, as we shall see, Sartre qualifies that so much that in the end the difference between him and Husserl on this point is not as great as it first appears.

Once again, we make no claims about whether the natural world is real or not. It may all be an illusion — but I can describe it anyway. Here too we see the idea we touched on earlier: It is bracketed along with all the other sciences. So Husserl starts off the way Descartes does. They are included among the phenomena. And so they are fair game for phenomenology. Nevertheless, he thinks Descartes made two important mistakes:. In the end, Husserl thinks, Descartes in effect identified the Ego that we can still talk about after the phenomenological reduction with his own psychological personality or self.

In other words, according to Husserl, Descartes thought that after adopting the policy of confining myself to the directly given, I am nevertheless still able to talk with certainty about the facts of my own psychology.

And this is where Husserl thinks Descartes made his first mistake. What exactly is the point here? Well, Husserl thinks there is a sense in which the Cartesian cogito is correct. But that Ego is not the same thing as the self or Ego we talk about in psychology. Once again, for Husserl phenomenology is not psychology.

What is this Ego that Husserl thinks we can continue to be certain of after the phenomenological reduction? Well, think of it like this This is important! Go back and think of the movie-theater model again. In this analogy, the phenomena are the pictures on the screen. But when I look at a scene on my mental movie-screen, there is something else I am directly given — in addition to the pictures on the screen.

But it is directly given to us.