From Perception to Action

Sartre’s Practical Phenomenology

in Sartre Studies International
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  • 1 PhD Student, Centre for Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Culture, Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven, Belgium
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This paper re-examines the well-known problem of how it is possible to have an “intuition of absences” in Sartre’s example of Pierre. I argue that this problem is symptomatic of an overly theoretical interpretation of Sartre’s use of intentionality. First, I review Husserl’s notion of evidence within his phenomenology. Next, I introduce Sartre’s Pierre example and highlight some difficulties with interpreting it as a problem of perception. By focusing on Sartre’s notion of the project, I argue instead that the problem is better understood at the level of action. In support of this interpretation, I conclude with a brief comparison to the early work of Paul Ricoeur. By borrowing some of Ricoeur’s phenomenological vocabulary tailored to action, I reinterpret Sartre’s example as a practical problem.

Sartre Studies International

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Existentialism and Contemporary Culture

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