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PHL lecture, mar. 22.doc

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Peter King

Sartre: A Matter of Death and Life  Recall that No Exit is life without a break, concentrate-of-life, undiluted living- o A point Sartre underlines by pointing out that the characters do not sleep or even blink  Have to live “one‟s eyes open forever” o None of this alters the essential qualities of life  Death on the other hand, remains absurd, an interruption of life  But what is this „life‟ that makes such a difference?  Sartre holds that life is simply the set of actions one has performed: no more no less o Takes this view to rule out any appeal to what one is meant to do, what one might have been, etc.  A person is “nothing else but the sum of his actions” (Existentialism is a Humanism)  Sartre inverts Nietzsche‟s slogan that there is “no being behind doing”: whereas Nietzsche meant that complex historical developments were required in order for humans to become psychologically complex, Sartre means that non-events are nothing  If so, what‟s wrong with death? o It puts an end to our projects that it cuts things of too soon? o Seems wrong, or at least not strong enough to capture Sartre‟s claim that death is more than an inconvenience, it‟s absurd  Think about the afterlife
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