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Being-for-itself and the Ontological Structure

Can Being-for-itself Avoid Bad Faith?

Ronald E. Santoni

early Sartre. Webber, too, has seriously engaged with the issue and recognizes the importance, and even two-sidedness, of any solution. In short, the issue may be stated simply in the question, What is the ontological status of being-for-itself with

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Sartre's Ontology from Being and Nothingness to The Family Idiot

Joseph S. Catalano

I understand Sartre's ontology to develop in three stages: first, through Being and Nothingness and Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr; second, through the Critique of Dialectical Reason; and, finally, as it unfolds in The Family Idiot. Each stage depends upon the former and deepens the original ontology, while still introducing novel elements. For example, in Being and Nothingness, the in-itself, which is the source of our world-making, develops in the Critique into the practico-inert, which is the world made artifact, and in The Family Idiot, both the in-itself and the practico-inert unite to become the Spirit of the Age, joining our adventure with nature to that of our adventure with our family and our history. My reflection will be developed in four stages: first, a general overview; second, a more extended study of what Sartre calls the problematic of human reality; third, a brief reflection on Sartre's methodology; and finally, a concluding survey.

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Sartrean Authenticity: The epistemological and ontological bases of Sartrean ethics

Tatjana Schönwälder-Kuntze

In general, the Sartrean concept of the subject as "being-for-self" and "being-for-others" is read as if Sartre had sketched these structures as given "a priori" and therefore as unalterable. One of the consequences of this interpretation lies in calling Sartre's theory contradictory, especially with regard to his ethics, because of the assumption that, based on this concept, changing the inauthentic structures of the subject into authentic ones would be impossible. Contrary to this interpretation, I argue that Sartre's philosophical theory is by no means contradictory, neither in its relation to ethics nor as it relates to the complete edition of Sartre's philosophical writing, if one tries to understand what kind of theoretical requirements Sartre considered to be relevant and necessary. From this point of view, it is possible to work out an adequate and consistent interpretation. In order for me to argue for the immanent consistency of Sartre's theory and for the resulting possibility of an ethical theory based on it, I will discuss some aspects of the relation between epistemological, ontological and ethical elements within Sartre's philosophical system.

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Towards a Historical Ontology of Violence

Yusuf Has

My aim in this article is to move the problematic of violence and its role in politics to a historico-ontological plane. I propose a perspective that breaks with the dominant subjectivist concept of human violence and its metaphysical foundations, which fail to distinguish this concept from that of aggression. According to this perspective, we are already in the field of violence in our everyday social existence, regardless of our personal choices or intentions, the sources of which are systemic. The ontological essence of this systemic violence lies in the fact that it is not external to human subjects but is engraved in their very social being by penetrating into the discourses, practices and frames of mind that make up their historical disposition, which makes it in many instances harder to escape than subjective violence. What I call from this ontological perspective the 'violence of closure' has the effect ultimately of suppressing the possibilities of social being open to human beings in their given historical situation, by normalising the existing way of social and political existence, and closing them off to alternatives. I argue that to this violence of closure must be opposed the violence of dis-closure, which, in its various particular intellectual and practical forms, can open up human social existence to its repressed possibilities.

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Ontologies and Politics of Biogenomic 'Race'

Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther and Jonathan Michael Kaplan

All eyes are turned towards genomic data and models as the source of knowledge about whether human races exist or not. Will genomic science make the final decision about whether racial realism (e.g. racial population naturalism) or anti-realism (e.g. racial scepticism) is correct? We think not. The results of even our best and most impressive genomic technologies under-determine whether biogenomic races exist, or not. First, different sub-disciplines of biology interested in population structure employ distinct concepts, aims, measures and models, producing cross-cutting categorisations of population subdivisions rather than a single, universal biogenomic concept of 'race.' Second, within each sub-discipline (e.g. phylogenetics, conservation biology), genomic results are consistent with, and map multiply to, racial realism and anti-realism. Indeed, racial ontologies are constructed conventionally, rather than discovered. We thus defend a constructivist conventionalism about biogenomic racial ontology. Choices and conventions must always be made in identifying particular kinds of groups. Political agendas, social programmes, and moral questions premised on the existence of naturalistic race should accept that no scientifically grounded racial ontology is forthcoming, and adjust presumptions, practices and projects accordingly.

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The Magic of the Other: Sartre on Our Relation with Others in Ontology and Experience

Julie Van der Wielen

Sartre's analysis of intersubjective relations through his concept of the look seems unable to give an account of intersubjectivity. By distinguishing the look as an ontological conflict from our relation with others in experience, we will see that actually intersubjectivity is not incompatible with this theory. Furthermore, we will see that the ontological conflict with the Other always erupts in experience in the form of an emotion, and thus always involves magic, and we will look into what the presence of the Other adds to such emotion. Emotions I have in front of the Other are directed toward my being-for-others, which escapes me by definition. This has a peculiar consequence when the imaginary is involved, which could help explain complexes such as narcissism and paranoia.

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Metaphysical Questions in Sartre's Phenomenological Ontology

Jeffrey Wilson

Since Kant, modern philosophy has reacted critically and most often dismissively to any theories or inquiries deemed “metaphysical.” The Critique of Pure Reason shows that although human beings naturally seek knowledge of things that are beyond the limits of all possible experience (i.e., metaphysical knowledge), the categories by means of which we are capable of knowledge are all restricted in their legitimate application to objects of possible experience.

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Representation and Ontological Self-Knowledge in Sartre's Drama

Jeremy Ekberg

Because Sartre's theatre is one of representation and authenticity, plays like The Victors offer Sartrean philosophical explorations of subjects pushed to the limits of existence by torture and oppressive social edicts. It is in extreme situations that a subject most clearly exercises or fails to exercise his freedom and therefore his authenticity. But Sartre's interest in a complete explication of this process wanes before he fully outlines his project of self formation, which leaves the present paper to prove: (1) the unattainability of any final or permanent authenticity, since each subject represents itself alternately in authentic and inauthentic ways and because the representations of a single subject are constantly in flux; (2) the primacy of representation as the force by which the self is formed and authenticity achieved or avoided; and (3) the criteria for the assessment of authenticity levels and how these processes come to light in plays like The Victors.

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Pure Reflection and Intentional Process: The Foundation of Sartre's Phenomenological Ontology

Eric James Morelli

I am not interested in examining the development of Sartre’s view of pure reflection or in extracting a general notion of pure or purifying reflection from Sartre’s entire corpus. Instead, I am interested in understanding with Sartre’s help an experience that his account of pure reflection in the second chapter of Being and Nothingness, ‘Temporality’, concerns, namely the experience of founding a phenomenological theory.

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Being-looked-at: Ontological Grounding for an Ethics in Being and Nothingness

Michelle Darnell

The importance of freedom in Sartre’s philosophy cannot be overestimated, and the understanding of Sartre’s account of freedom is necessary for the understanding of Sartre’s philosophy as a whole. In this article, I will show that there are two distinct, but related, notions of freedom used in Being and Nothingness, and will suggest that a clarification of the two notions will open the possibility of grounding Sartre’s demand that each individual should promote the freedom of all Others.