Jean-Paul Sartre

pre-reflective cogito is starting point described on pg. XI it is what is viewed by Descartes's cogito. He thinks that the nature of consciousness is that for it to be and for it to know itself are one and the same. This is how one is self-conscious the self is never and object of consciousness. Consciousness of an object is consciosness of being conscious of an object, when I am aware of a chair I am non-reflectively aware of my awareness, but when I deliberately think of my awareness this is a totally new act of consciousness. All consciousness is consciousness of something (following Husserl). The Ego does not come into existence until the original consciousness has been made the object of reflection. So the Cartesian Cogit does not have primacy. He believes the Ego is sum of states created from the pre-reflective consciousness and when the consciousness makes itself an object for reflection, so it only appears in the (?) of reflection. Consciousness focusing on any one of its acts or states points to the Ego like focusing on any particular physical object points to the world. The "I" and "me" are two aspects of the Ego. Consciousness is afraid of its own spontaneity because it feels itself to be beyond Freedom, this causes us to feel anguish because there is nothing to ensure our following any of our usual patterns, choices or conduct. And consciousness often uses the Ego to protect itself from this total freedom and responsibility. Being-in-itself is being that just is without reason, purpose or necessity, that is contingent. Being-for-itself is conscious of its contingency and has the ability to choose the meaning for its being, but not to choose whether it would exist or not. "de trop" is superfluous being. Nausea is the revelation of one's body (which partakes in the existence of things) and the fact of inescapable connection with being in itself. His present being only has meaning in light of the future toward which he projects himself. Sartre sees being-for-itself has a nothingness and is revealed to us in anguish, and so it results in pursuit of being in the form of selfness. Knowledge is the bridge between for-itself and in-itself.

pg. 4 Sartre assumes (no justification for reduction) that there is no noemena and that appearance is being. Sartre makes a fallacious argument that the phenomena is relative-absolute because "appear" supposes someone to whom to appear. Then Sartre assumes that there is no meaning or idea behind an action, that an action stops with itself. For example, there is no genius to Proust that is not in the actual actions or works as a whole, not individual works or potential works. The essence of an existent is the manifest law that presides over the succession of appearances, the principle of the series, the concatenation of appearances, which is itself an appearance, and is nothing beyond the connected series of its manifestations. [what justification to connect the individual appearances?] Though an object may disclose itself through a single Abschattung, the fact of their being a subject implies the possibility of multiplying the points of view to infinity. The object is not me because the series does not depend on my whim. An individual appearance without reference to its series could only be the manner in which the subject is affected, dependent upon subjective intuition. In order for the phenomena to reveal itself as transcendent, the subject must transcend the appearance to the total series. [duh! Sartre skips and assumes what he cannot provide justification for]. An appearance is finite and in order to be grasped as an appearance-of-that-which-appears it must be surpassed towards infinity [what is the deal with the ridiculous idea of "appearance-of-that-which-appears, it is constrasted with the being-which-does-not-appear, he is using almost the same concepts just different language]. What appears is only an aspect of the object. Potency is replaced in a new way also in an infinite series of real or possible appearances or points of view of his whole works, called "inexhaustability". Ontology is the description of the "phenomena of being" (appearance of being capable of description) as it manifests itself. This appearance is the same as the existent, as he asserts Heidegger has shown. I don't understand the phenomenon of being and the being of phenomena on pg. 7-9. Every theory of knowledge presupposes a metaphysic because there must be some guarantee for the being of knowledge.

Sartre believes that progress has been made in philosophy by recognizing monism of phenomena and that there is nothing behind phenomena and so things like force are only the sum of their effects. All actions indicate themself and the total series. This leaves the idea of phenomena such as we find in Husserl and Heidegger- the phenomena is the measure of being, not merely illusion or the relative absolute. Sartre takes this further by saying that there is nothing behind human actions, like potential genius, there is only the totality of a person's actions. Essence is only the concatenation of appearances, and the series of appearances are bound by a principle which does not depend on my whim. The subject must transcend the appearance toward the total series of which it is a member but if at every appearance it must be transcended then the object's series is posited as infinite. The finite posited in every appearance, and infinite period in transcendence to the series from every appearance. (This depends on Abshattung pg 5) What appears is only an aspect of the object "Inexhaustability" is a potency of every appearance in its transcendence to be developed in a series of real or possible appearances or points of view. So the genius of Proust, though reduced to his works, is no less equivalent to the infinite possible points of view of that work. Phenomena of being is an appearance of being capable of description, and is disclosed to us through immediate access, boredom, nausea, etc. Husserl's eidetic reduction? pg 7 In a particular object one can pass from a quality (e.g. color) to an essence that quality implies, just like a sign implies its meaning. The essence is not in the object but it is the meaning of the object, the principle of the series which discloses it. But Being is not one of the object's qualities, nor a meaning, it doesn't possess Being or participate in Being, nor does it have any other kind of relation. It just is, that is the only way to define it. The existent is a phenomena i.e. an organized totality of qualities. It designates itself, not its being. Being is simply the condition of revelation, it is being-for-revealing not revealed being. WHen I pass beyond the object to being, I turn my eyes away from the object toward the phenomena of being (no longer the condition of revelation) and is something revealed that needs a being by which it reveals itself. So the being of phenomena cannot be subject to the phenomenal condition (which is to exist only in so far as it reveals itself) so it surpasses the knowledge which we have of it and provides the basis for such knowledge. One might object "why then isn't being reducible to the appearance?" Esse est percipi cannot satisfy us because of the nature of the percipi and of the percipere. If every metaphysics presupposes a theory of knowledge, every theory of knowledge in turn presupposes a metaphysics, so we must first give a guarantee of the being of knowledge otherwise when esse est percipi is affirmed it lacks a solid being and so falls into nothingness. Therefore, the being of knowledge is not subject to the percipi, but must be trans-phenomenal.

We can always agree that the percipi refers to a being not subject to the laws of the appearance, but we still maintain that this transphenomenal being is the being of the subject, so knowledge refers to consciousness, which is not self knowledge, it is the dimension of transphenomenal being in the subject, in its capacity as being not as being known. All consciousness is consciousness of something, and so there is no consciousness which is not a positing of a transcendent object. A table is not in consciousness, the table's true connections are in the world. Consciousness is a positional consciousness of the world, in that it transcends itself in order to reach an object and exhausts itself in this same positing. All intention in my consciousness is directed outside, toward the table, all present inclinations transcend themselves and are absorbed in the table. Not all consciousness is knowledge, but all knowing consciousness is knowledge only of its object. But the necessary condition for this is consciousness of itself being that knowledge, otherwise it would be an unconscious which is absurd. This is sufficient to say that the table exists for me. (?) interprets it in these terms "to know is to know that one knows". We should redefine reflection in terms of knowledge of consciousness. This would be consciousness directed toward something which is not it; that is, toward consciousness as object of reflection. It would then transcend itself and would exhaust itself in aiming at its object, which would be a consciousness. But this won't do. If we wish to avoid an infinite regress, there must be an immediate, non-cognitive relation of the self. Every positional consciousness of an object is at the same time a non-positional consciousness of itself. There is a non-thetic consciousness of our activities.

There is an instantaneous consciousness which is acheived by reflection but there is also fleeting consciousnesses that have passed without being reflected on, yet one knows pg. 13 This means reflection has no primacy over the consciousness reflected on. So it is the non-reflective consciousness which renders the reflection possible, in other words, there is a pre-reflective cogito which is the condition for the Cartesian cogito. Every conscious existence exists as consciousness of existing. The consciousness of consciousness is one with the latter consciousness. At one stroke it determines itself as consciousness of perception and of perception. This self-consciousness is not new but is the only mode of existence which is possible for a consciousness of something. So an intention, a pleasure, a grief can exist only as immediate self-consciousness, so the being of an intention etc. is consciousness. Pleasure cannot be distinguished from consciousness of pleasure, a potential pleasure of potencies of consciousness can exist only as consciousness of being potential or as consciousness of potencies respectively. These aren't qualities of consciousness but are concrete events full and absolute. There is an indivisible, indissoluble being which is existence through and through. Consciousness is the source and condition of all possibility, therefore its existence implies its essence. It is a plenum of existence, it is a non-substantial absolute, (the ontological error of Cartesian rationalism is not to have seen that if the absolute is defined by the primacy of existence over essence, it cannot be conceived as substance), it is pure appearance in the sense that it exists only to the degree to which it appears (it is total emptiness). We have reduced things to the totality of their appearance. Consciousness is the ontological foundation of knowledge, the absolute in relation to which every phenomenon is relative. This is not the subject but subjectivity itself, henceforth we have escaped idealism, since in it being is measured by knowledge, which subjects it to the law of duality. there is only known being; thought appears only through its own products. We have apprehended a being which is not subject to knowledge and which founds knowledge, this is directly apprehended such as it is and is not a phenomenon of knowledge but is the structure of being. However, there is a being of the thing perceived as perceived and the table reveals itself qua table through the synthesis of subjective impressions which is its transcendent limit, the reason for it and its end. So this being is the percipi and is relative to consciousness that is conscious of it.

The being of the phenomenon resides in its percipi, which is passivity (I am passive when I undergo a modification of which I am not the origin, that is neither the source nor the creator). Thus my being supports a mode of being of which it is not the source, but in order for me to support it is necessary for me to exist, so I support passively and must assume my existence which engages my liberty. So I have a choice of alternatives: either I am not passive in my being in which case I become the foundation of my affections even if at first I have not been the origin of them, or I am affected with passivity in my very existence, my being is a received being, and hence all falls into nothingness.

Passivity 19, 20, 21 ?

Thus relativity and passivity can on no account apply to being. Esse of phenomena can not be its percipi. The transphenomenal being of consciousness can not provide a basis for the transphenomenal being of the phenomenon, which is the error of phenomenalists.

All consciousness is consciousness of something. Either we understand this to mean that consciousness is constitutive of the being of its object, or it means that consciousness in its inmost nature is a relation to a transcendent being. It can't be the first because to be conscious of something is to be conscious of something with a full, concrete presence which is not consciousness. So if the being of the phenomenon is to depend on consciousness, the object must be distinguished from consciousness not by its presence but by its absence. Objectifying intentions are empty intentions, those which aim beyond the present subjective appearance at the infinite totality of the series of appearances. If the infinite series were all present they would dissolve into the subjective, it is their absence which gives them objective being. Thus the being of the object is pure non-being, that which will never be given, which offers itself only in fleeting and succesive profiles. Things give themselves simply by appearance (profile), and each appearance refers to other appearances.

Ontological proof - Consciousness is consciousness of something, which means that transcendence is the constitutive structure of consciousness, i.e. consciousness is born supported by being which is not itself. Intentionality of something means that for consciousness there is no being outside of that precise obligation to be a revealing intuition of something (i.e. of a transcendent being) subjectivity, properly so called, is consciousness of consciousness.

Chapter 1

Sartre wants to find the relation between the two types of being. He defines abstraction (using Laporte's) as something not capable of existing in isolation is thought of in an isolated state. The concrete is a totality which can exist by itself alone. He asserts the concrete is the union of man with the world which Heidegger calls "being-in-the-world". Kant's and Husserl's philosophies start with the abstract and can never get to the concrete. He says each type of human conduct can release the relation "man-world" so he proposes to look at several. Asking the very question, "is there any conduct which can reveal to me the relation of man with the world?" is such conduct, and in every such question we stand before a being we are questioning, it is a human attitude filled with meaning, and we question about something, and expect an answer in the basic form of "yes" or "no, such conduct does not exist." He says this is an admittance to being faced with the transcendent fact of the non-existence of such conduct. On pg. 36 he thinks this demonstrates the permanent possibility of non-being, we are encompased by nothingness. What being will be must of necessity arise on the basis of what it is not [his language here is obviously misleading, nothingness or non-being would more appropriately be rendered "otherness" because it is being of a different kind from what we are focusing on, of course that isn't what Sartre is saying, but he is already embracing absurdity]. This creates new relations to be explored with non-being.


The best thing ... an event. pg. 1

Perhaps it was ... into them. pg. 2

When I heard ... am cured. pg. 3

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