How Can Sartrean Consciousness be Reverent?

in Sartre Studies International
P. Sven ArvidsonSeattle University

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According to philosopher Paul Woodruff, reverent awe is a feeling of being limited or dwarfed by something larger than the human, usually accompanied by feelings of respect for fellow human beings. Drawing from Jean-Paul Sartre's early philosophy, this article responds positively to the title question, showing how reverent awe is in bad faith yet is similar to anguish, and unique with respect to both. Especially remarkable in reverent awe is the feeling of connectedness to humankind. In section two, building on this section one framework of how Sartrean consciousness can be reverent, the article explores how being-in-itself (l'être-en-soi) can be an object of reverent awe.

Contributor Notes

P. Sven Arvidson is Associate Professor and Director of Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies, Seattle University, where he holds an Associated Appointment in the Department of Philosophy. His books and articles center on human nature, ethics, and pedagogy. Email:

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