Edmund Husserl has certainly been one of the first important sources of Sartrean philosophy. Despite having been very critical of many aspects of Husserl’s thought once adopted his positions, the French philosopher has a great debt with the father of phenomenology. In this paper, which is a development of a section of our doctoral thesis, we will firstly try to explore Husserl’s key concepts, so that the fundamental aspects of his philosophy can be clarified and understood in their own meaning. (...) Secondly, we will explain why Sartre adopted some of them, refusing others instead. Once done that, in a third moment we will be able to comprehend that Sartre was not only trying to criticize, but he strongly wanted to re-elaborate Husserlian phenomenology, in order to explore consciousness in an original way. In the end, we will discover why intentionality is the key element of this Sartrean turn, thanks to which the concepts of Ego and consciousness became the roots of his later thought. (shrink)
This study approach the critique of the transcendental ego in phenomenology in La transcendance de l’Ego, where Sartre confronts the “consistency” of a psychic and psychophysical ego. The research is directed towards understanding how a consciousness that does not have, a priori, any egological structure ends up, as “artificial functionality” and “in interiority”, constituting it as an “object”, to then identify with him, affirming himself as being him, in a sui generis relationship of «identity and indistinction». Therefore, throughout the reflection, (...) as he reveals what he claims to be a «pre-personal» character of consciousness, the philosopher questions the reason for this movement by which it ends up «reifying», identifying itself with the psychic ego which it itself constitutes as a transcendent object. The aim here is to approach the existential inferences – not subscribed by the reasoning that is developed –, of Sartre when he concludes that this ego is a «product» of the conscience itself, which constitutes it, projects itself and identifies with it as a subterfuge to escape its full spontaneity and freedom that are a reason for her anguish. In this context, it is thought that, due to the “doxic character” they contain, all existential positions cannot be confirmed in the light of transcendental phenomenology. The egological approach to subjectivity in Husserl’s phenomenology is considered to be a continuous process of self-appropriating unfolding. However, this does not imply an undue multiplication of “I’s”, but refers, above all, to “modalities” of a consciousness that unfolds in a multiplicity of acts and subjects. (shrink)
Both Husserl and Sartre speak of quasi-presence in their descriptions of the lived experience of imagination, and for both philosophers, accounting for quasi-presence means developing an account of the hyle proper to imagination. Guided by the perspective of fulfillment, Husserl’s theory of imaginary quasi-presence goes through three stages. Having experimented first with a depiction-model and then a perception-model, Husserl’s mature theory appeals to his innovative conception of inner consciousness. This elegant account nevertheless fails to do justice to the facticity and (...) bodily involvement of our imaginary experience. Sartre’s theory of analogon, based on his conception of imaginary quasi-presence as ‘magical’ self-affection, embodies important insights on these issues. Kinesthetic sensations and feelings are the modes in which we make use of own body to possess and be possessed by the imaginary object, thus lending it a semblance of bodily presence. (shrink)
In this essay, I study the departure performed in The Imaginary from the Husserlian position spanning from the Logical Investigations and the 1904/1905 lectures on the imagination. In Sartre’s conception, the imagination in its two forms is never intuitive. Moreover, in an act of imagination we can never find immanent sensible contents. In Husserl, the imagination in its two forms, is a sensible intuition, like perception. Furthermore, every act of imagination apprehends immanent sensible contents.
En el presente artículo presentaremos dos posibles enfoques sobre la actividad analógica de la conciencia en L’imaginaire de Jean-Paul Sartre: el primero, centrado en la composición ontológica del analogon, distinguirá el “analogon psíquico” del “analogon físico” y deducirá a partir de allí las dificultades y limitaciones del planteo sartreano y planteará a su vez los medios para dar respuesta a tales problemas. El segundo intentará explicar la función analógica de la conciencia imaginante como el resultado de un proceso de emancipación (...) de la fenomenología de Husserl en la que la distinción material del analogon expresa el punto de partida de un desarrollo crítico que conducirá al abandono de la dimensión hylética del analogon a favor de la función analógica de la conciencia. Estas perspectivas nos brindarán un panorama de los límites legítimos de cada una, así como de la profundidad y el dinamismo del pensamiento sartreano.In this article we will present two possible approaches on the analogical activity of consciousness in L'imaginaire of Jean-Paul Sartre: the first one, focused on the ontological composition of the analogon, will distinguish the “psychological analogon” from “physical analogon” and will deduce the difficulties and limitations of Sartrean argument and the means to resolve them. The second one will try to explain the analogical function of imaginative consciousness as the result of a process of emancipation of Husserl's phenomenology in which the material distinction of the analogon expresses only the starting point of a critical development that will lead to the abandonment of the hyletic dimension of the analogon for the analogical function of consciousness. These perspectives will give us an overview of the legitimate limits of each one, as well as the depth and dynamism of Sartrean thought. (shrink)
This paper re-examines the well-known problem of how it is possible to have an “intuition of absences” in Sartre’s example of Pierre. I argue that this problem is symptomatic of an overly theoretical interpretation of Sartre’s use of intentionality. First, I review Husserl’s notion of evidence within his phenomenology. Next, I introduce Sartre’s Pierre example and highlight some difficulties with interpreting it as a problem of perception. By focusing on Sartre’s notion of the project, I argue instead that the problem (...) is better understood at the level of action. In support of this interpretation, I conclude with a brief comparison to the early work of Paul Ricoeur. By borrowing some of Ricoeur’s phenomenological vocabulary tailored to action, I reinterpret Sartre’s example as a practical problem. (shrink)
This chapter argues that J. P. Sartre has overlooked two motivations in developing his theory of temporality: first, to found the method of phenomenological ontology; and, second, to show that human freedom, pace I. Kant, must be situated within the empirical world. Sartre argues that consciousness is nothingness’s origin by having the ontological characteristic of being “its own nothingness”. Sartre begins his account by noting that temporality is “an organized structure” such that the three temporal dimensions—past, present, and future—are not (...) externally related but rather internally or synthetically related to one another. Sartre then uses phenomenological description to elucidate the past’s true ontological status. Sartre seeks an account according to which time’s successive moments are not only separable but also unified in some way, i.e. have “a form of synthesis”. Sartre clarifies that it is one and the same phenomenon both for a present to change into the past and for a new present to arise. (shrink)
This paper examines how Sartre’s early phenomenological works were influenced by Emmanuel Levinas’s The Theory of Intuition in Husserl’s Phenomenology. Sartre embraced two key aspects of Levinas’s interpretation of Husserl: 1) that phenomenology is an ontological philosophy whose foundation is the doctrine of intentionality; and, 2) that consciousness’s being consists in intentionality, which entails that consciousness is non-substantial as well as pre-reflectively or non-thetically aware of itself. In addition to adopting these views, Sartre also became gripped by a methodological problem (...) raised by Levinas. Namely, phenomenology reflects on consciousness, yet reflection modifies the consciousness it reflects on. I argue that Sartre responds to this problem by developing two of Levinas’s ideas: that reflection is a motivated act and that reflection must adequately grasp consciousness’s temporality. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn this article I argue that Sartre’s notions of nothingness and “negatity” are not, as he presents it, primarily reactions to Hegel and Heidegger. Instead, they are a reaction to an ongoing struggle with Husserl’s notion of intentionality and related notions. I do this by comparing the criticism aimed at Husserl in Sartre’s Being and Nothingness to that presented in his earlier work, The Imagination, where he discusses Husserl more elaborately. Furthermore, I compare his criticism to Husserl’s own criticism of (...) the “doctrine of immanent objects”, in order to show that Sartre’s notion of nothingness is a continuation of Husserl’s criticism, and that he turns Husserl’s own arguments against himself. (shrink)
The basic entity in phenomenology is the phenomenon. Knowing the phenomenon is another issue. The phenomenon has been described as the real natural object or the appearance directly perceived in phenomenology and analytic philosophy of perception. Within both traditions, philosophers such as Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Russell and Wittgenstein have considered that perceptual experience demonstrates what a phenomenon is on the line between the mind and the external world. Therefore, conceptualizing the phenomenon is based on the perceptual evidence. However, if the (...) belief that perception is “theory-laden” is true, then perception can also be “philosophy-laden”. These philosophers have not noticed whether perceptual knowledge is independent of philosophies. If perceptual knowledge is not independent of philosophies, a philosopher’s background language can influence what he or she claims to know about the phenomenon. For Husserl, experience is direct evidence of what exists. The textual evidence shows that Sartre’s denial of the distinction between appearance and reality lies behind his claim to know the phenomenon, however. By examining Husserl's Ideas and Sartre's Being and Nothingness I conclude that these philosophers’ philosophical languages influence their experience of the phenomenon and perceptual knowledge. Philosophical traditions affect the thoughts of perception. (shrink)
This article focuses on the relation between philosophy and literature in early Sartre, showing how his literary writing can be seen as philosophically significant by interpreting Sartre as practising a variant of phenomenological method. I first clarify Sartre’s approach to phenomenological method by comparing and contrasting it with Husserl’s. Despite agreeing that philosophy is a reflective descriptive study of essences, Sartre sees no use for phenomenological reduction and free variation. I then consider the philosophical function of Sartre’s literary works, arguing (...) that, although these cannot reliably convey philosophical theories, their significance lies in describing concrete situations that ground reflective theoretical concepts. However, this grounding function can be understood only if Sartre is seen as realising Husserl’s phenomenological method – including phenomenological reduction and free variation – more fully than he acknowledges. Finally, I address two challenges to my view and briefly assess the value of literary phenomenology as a philosophical method. (shrink)
The first phase of Sartre’s philosophical publications is marked by an apparent ambivalence towards Husserl’s transcendental turn. Sartre accepts both major aspects of that turn, the phenomenological reduction and the use of transcendental argumentation. Yet his rejection of the transcendental ego that Husserl derives from this transcendental turn overlooks an obvious transcendental argument in favour of it. His books on emotion and imagination, moreover, make only very brief comments about the transcendental constitution of the world of experience. In each case, (...) these appear at the end of the book and can seem to contradict the book’s central analysis. The problem underlying these features of his works of phenomenological psychology is clarified and resolved, however, when Sartre articulates his own transcendental phenomenology and ontology in Being and Nothingness a decade after he first encountered the work of Husserl. This resolution raises a new problem that animates the next phase of his philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophers have faced the problem of self or inner awareness since the self, itself, became something to be known and/or understood. Once dancers ‘let go of the mirror’ they too began to face the problem and limits to bodily awareness, developing specific reflective practices to obtain access to their inner bodily selves. But for the phenomenologist, reflection requires an active process of perception, which problematises our grasping of the so-called hidden, organising structures of movement that are unable to be perceived. (...) For the dancer, then, how is it possible to access and have a deeper understanding of these nonconscious bodily structures? What are the limits to inner bodily awareness? In this article, I draw upon Jean-Paul Sartre’s challenge to Edmund Husserl’s pure ego with his notion of object transcendence in his essay of 1937, Transcendence of The Ego: An existentialist theory of consciousness. I do this as a possible means for understanding bodily schemata and its expression through interactive dance technologies. Using examples from dance, I suggest how bodily schemata can be accounted for if our attention is not directed towards an inner sensing of the body, but towards a site of interaction where objects or materials extend or supraextend our bodies in the form of clothing, costume and digital representations, and where the dancer becomes audience to these distally extended bodily reflections. (shrink)
Sartre says that no Husserlian transcendental ego can exist because it would have to be simultaneously both a principle of unification and a concrete, individual moment in the stream of consciousness. If the former, it could not be experienced phenomenologically and would become a hypothetical and purely theoretical construction, nor would it be congruent with the phenomenological idea of consciousness as experience. If the latter, it could not unify all moments of consciousness because it would exist merely as one of (...) the moments to be unified. Against Sartre’s argument, we submit that the ego can be and is both these things simultaneously, owing to the directional character of consciousness which Husserl describes in his lectures on time consciousness. (shrink)
This is a reissue of Professor Natanson’s 1951 monograph, the first such study of Being and Nothingness to appear in English. After an introductory essay on the nature of existentialism, the author begins a brief but lucid exposition of the major issues of Sartre’s masterwork: the quest for a phenomenological ontology, temporality, nothingness, the problem of the Other, the Self, including the categories of freedom, situation, and death, and the nature of existential psychoanalysis. The remainder of the book is devoted (...) to an evaluation of Sartre’s enterprise from the viewpoint of Husserl’s phenomenology. Natanson’s fundamental objection hits upon a point which clearly distinguishes Sartre from Husserl, viz., the former’s insistence that intentionality be understood as justifying a metaphysical realism through a kind of ontological argument whereby consciousness is consciousness of transphenomenal Being, the realm of the en-soi. According to Natanson, this crucial Sartrean move is not phenomenological except in a Hegelian sense. And if the influence of Heidegger’s concept of "revelation" is admitted, the author points out that this, too, is a distortion of Husserlian method. In fact, he finds Sartre’s book a methodological melange of quasi-phenomenology, "revealing intuitions" of Being, and outright psychologism. (shrink)
This early study is a key work, along with several other preliminary essays, for understanding the genesis of Sartre's Being and Nothingness. Well translated and with an excellent introduction and notes, the book contains the critical thesis that former theories of the imagination confused perception with imagination, and that imagination was properly recognized first by Husserl and was subsequently further clarified by Sartre in his notion of the nihilating consciousness. --E. S. C.