David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (1):77 – 95 (2007)
Henri Bergson's philosophy, which Sartre studied as a student, had a profound but largely neglected influence on his thinking. In this paper I focus on the new light that recognition of this influence throws on Sartre's central argument about the relationship between negation and nothingness in his Being and Nothingness. Sartre's argument is in part a response to Bergson's dismissive, eliminativist account of nothingness in Creative Evolution (1907): the objections to the concept of nothingness with which Sartre engages are precisely those raised by Bergson. Even if Sartre's account of nothingness in its entirety is found to be flawed, I argue that the points he makes specifically against Bergson are powerful. My discussion concludes with a brief examination of the wider philosophical background to Sartre's and Bergson's discussion of nothingness: here I point to some important aspects of Sartre's early philosophy, including some features of his conception of nothingness, that may testify to Bergson's positive influence on his thought.
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References found in this work BETA
Henri Bergson (2007). Creative Evolution. Palgrave Macmillan.
Jean-Paul Sartre (1956/1994). Being and Nothingness. Distributed by Random House.
Martin Heidegger (1998). Pathmarks. Cambridge University Press.
Jean-Paul Sartre (2004). The Imaginary: A Phenomenological Psychology of the Imagination. Routledge.
Vincent Descombes (1980). Modern French Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Gavin Rae (2016). Much Ado About Nothing: The Bergsonian and Heideggerian Roots of Sartre’s Conception of Nothingness. Human Studies 39 (2):249-268.
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