Personal Identity II (Jean Paul Sartre)
Sartre writes a book called being in nothingness which writes how to exercise phenomenology (study of
phenomena). It’s the experience of first person consciousness.
Sartre asks what characterizes a human being? And the notion of a ‘human being’.
The being of things is different from the being of human, the kind of concioussness that Locke thinks of
(Being conscious of being conscious)
Two Modes of Being
(Humans) Being for itself: This notion characterizes the way that human consciousness exists in the
world; consciousness exists for itself, expresses itself as freedom, but as something incomplete (Seeking
(Objects) Being in itself: This concept characterizes the nature of objects or non-conscious existence;
objects, unlike subjects, are complete in themselves.
Objects have their own essence, made from their makers and such but for humans they create their own
essence and their own purpose
Transcendence (To rise above): consciousness ‘transcends’ empirical reality (Through thought); it does
not limit itself strictly to the empirical but can move beyond the simple empirical experience through
abstraction or through reflection.
Facticity: This term is contrasted with transcendence and characterizes our empirical, bodily reality as
well as our social circumstances; out facticity limits us in some ways but not absolutely.
We are composed of both transcendence and facticity.
“Existence precedes Essence”
“We are condemned to be free” We are forced to make choices. We only gain completion through the
choices we make. This is how we gain our essence.
Anguish is experienced in relation to nothing- my freedom – my ‘self’ (Anxiety towards the choices we
have to make)
Fear is experienced in relation to definite object
Walking along the edge of the cliff, fear is the fact that the rocks might slip and might fall, or wind might
blow me over the edge (Something outside of my control) Anguish (anxiety) comes from the idea that
you might throw yourself over the cliff or jump (comes from within)
The self is made up by us, by choosing the life that we live.
In anguish I experience my transcendence or consciousness.
In fear I experience myself as an object, a body which is vulnerable to harm (my facticity)
Fundamental Project – my project of becoming a self (looking into the future and seeing what youre
gonna become, are you a positive, negative, cautious, adventurous person? This is the original choice
and original attitude)
This project rests on an original choice. These choices begin before we even conceive that we a