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PHIL 375 - Lecture: Sartre (Consciousness)

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PHIL 375
Susan Judith Hoffmann

Sartre Considers the essence of a phenomenon; the essence is a series of phenomenons that appears in the object. This is Husserl's position; Sartre endorses it, but also finds it problematic, insofar as it endorses another dualism between the finite and the infinite. This dualism was favoured by Husserl because it affirms transphenomenal (an object in this view does not have to have a finite views.) However, the phenomenon is not like its essence, and Sartre doesn't think the being of an object is being apprehended based on this principle. Leans more towards a Heideggerian notion of a grounding being in an object itself. The being of an object is more than its appearance, for Sartre. It also has an element of secretiveness, of covering up. Being is revealed to a subject, but not revealed in its entirety. An apple is transphenomenal, it is not reducible to an abstract concept, but rather is a fact, a phenomenological fact. It is a fact that things exist independently of consciousness, even though they arise in relation to consciousnesses. Sartre introduces a new kind of being: consciousness in its pre-reflected form. This kind of consciousness is directly related to the being of phenomenon. In this pre- reflected consciousness, doing and acting are exactly the same thing. In this state we are completely immersed in he world. Kierkegaard also wants to begin with immediacy. Is interested in giving account of consciousness to show that there is no problem to overcome, no true world in hiding, but that we are immediately connected to and can accurately describe being. Argues that he wants to distinguish himself from Barkley and subjective idealism. Sartre argues that consciousness is not one mode of knowledge among many modes of knowledge. Rather, to be conscious is the ontology of the subject itself. Consciousness is a knowing being in her capacity as being first and foremost, not as knowing. It is being that is primary, not knowledge. Wants to abandon the primacy of knowledge. Of course consciousness is a knowing knowledge, but this is not the most fundamental dimension of consciousness. It is first and foremost something that is intentional. To be conscious is to posit an object. Consciousness is always to be conscious of something; it always looks outward. This also means it must produce itself. The consciousness is active in constituting a being, but this being is given to consciousness. This being is not created by consciousness, but given to consciousness when it reveals it. However, being is not outside consciousness. Sartre argues that consciousness in itself is nothing. Consciousness in intentional is always supported by another being. That connection is immediate and intimate. The first thing philosophy should do is to expel things from consciousness, and re- establish its real connection with the world. To know that consciousness is a positional consciousness of the world. It is positional in that it transcends itself in order to reach its object. Wants to describe consciousness as an activity, but not an act (certainly not a decision). It is something that brings itself into being – spontaneity – but it has no causal power. According to Sartre, Descrates conceives of the consciousness as a “container.” Sartre agrees that consciousness is given to
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