The Philosophy of Sartre

By Anthony Hatzimoysis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Being

I

Being and Nothingness holds pride of place in Sartre’s philosophical corpus. It is the culmination of a decade’s involvement with phenomenological thought and sets the background for the moral, psychoanalytic, aesthetic and political propositions Sartre will articulate in the rest of his writing career. In between the methodological concerns that inform his early work, and the applied research that characterizes most of his later projects, there lies a text of substantial claims about the nature of being. The Greek word for “being” is on and the philosophical “discourse” or logos about being is ontology. Sartre conducts his ontological enquiry by adopting the standpoint of phenomenology, that is, by enquiring about being as it manifests itself. His analysis is closely attentive to the experience of what there is, providing a meticulous description of our encounter with being in perception, thought, feeling and action. That description purports to identify the basic structure of what there is, to analyse the grounds as well as the limits of our ability to affect how things are, and to illuminate the meaning of human conduct towards the world, towards oneself and towards others.

Given the foundational nature of an enquiry into being, and the wide scope of the Sartrean description of major types of experience of what there is, Being and Nothingness is a rich source of important ideas that pertain to most fields of philosophical research. Summarizing the results of the Sartrean enquiry would be no substitute for the study of a text whose main virtue lies not in the slogans that one might extract from it, but in the presentation of a detailed and thorough exploration of

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The Philosophy of Sartre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter One - A Narrative Prelude 1
  • Chapter Two - Intentionality 11
  • Chapter Three - The Ego 23
  • Chapter Four - Emotion 41
  • Chapter Five - Imagining 79
  • Chapter Six - Being 107
  • Notes 125
  • Bibliography 135
  • Index 141
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