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.
Blake D. Scott is a Ph.D. student in the Centre for Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Culture at the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven. He received a B.A. Honours (2015) and M.A. (2017) in philosophy from the University of Windsor and a Research M.A. (2018) in philosophy from KU Leuven. He is currently writing a dissertation that examines the relation between philosophy and rhetoric in the 20th century. His research interests include continental philosophy, social and political philosophy, rhetoric, and argumentation theory.