Sartre on Mind and World

in Sartre Studies International
Author:
Fiona Ellis Wadham College

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Being and Nothingness opens with the claim that modern thought has sought to overcome a certain number of dualisms which have embarrassed philosophy in so far as their acceptance provides one with no way of explaining how there can be a relation between mind and world. The dualism of being and appearance is mentioned in this context.1 Sartre contends, however, that modern thought has failed to make good its aim, for the solutions in question have been set out within a framework that presupposes the dualism which was to have been transcended. So, for example, the idealist solution – that being is reducible to appearance – turns out to assume the very conception of appearance implied by the dualistic model (BN 5.iv). By doing so, it fails to provide a genuine alternative to those forms of realism that insist, in similar vein, that there is an insurmountable distinction between being and appearance, and is thus in no better position to explain how there can be a relation between mind and world.

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Sartre Studies International

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Existentialism and Contemporary Culture

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