A discussion of existentialism

How well do you know you? Students will complete the first two steps of a modified version of the KWL learning strategy. After that I will handout a syllabus for the unit with Literature Circle selection listand present the journal assignment, with the first quote.

A discussion of existentialism

Sartre's Life Sartre was born in in Paris. This was his passport to a teaching career. His phenomenological investigation into the imagination was published in and his Theory A discussion of existentialism Emotions two years later.

During the Second World War, Sartre wrote his existentialist magnum opus Being and Nothingness and taught the work of Heidegger in a war camp. Being and Nothingness was published in and Existentialism and Humanism in His study of Baudelaire was published in and that of the actor Jean Genet in Inafter three years working on it, Sartre published the Critique of Dialectical Reason.

He was a high profile figure in the Peace Movement. Inhe turned down the Nobel prize for literature. He was actively involved in the May uprising. His study of Flaubert, L'Idiot de la Famille, was published in Inhe claimed no longer to be a Marxist, but his political activity continued until his death in Early Works Sartre's early work is characterised by phenomenological analyses involving his own interpretation of Husserl's method.

Sartre's methodology is Husserlian as demonstrated in his paper "Intentionality: This means that the acts by which consciousness assigns meaning to objects are what is analysed, and that what is sought in the particular examples under examination is their essential structure.

At the core of this methodology is a conception of consciousness as intentional, that is, as 'about' something, a conception inherited from Brentano and Husserl.

Sartre puts his own mark on this view by presenting consciousness as being transparent, i. The distinctiveness of Sartre's development of Husserl's phenomenology can be characterised in terms of Sartre's methodology, of his view of the self and of his ultimate ethical interests.

Methodology Sartre's methodology differs from Husserl's in two essential ways.

A discussion of existentialism

Although he thinks of his analyses as eidetic, he has no real interest in Husserl's understanding of his method as uncovering the Essence of things. For Husserl, eidetic analysis is a clarification which brings out the higher level of the essence that is hidden in 'fluid unclarity' Husserl, Ideas, I.

For Sartre, the task of an eidetic analysis does not deliver something fixed immanent to the phenomenon. It still claims to uncover that which is essential, but thereby recognizes that phenomenal experience is essentially fluid.

In Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions, Sartre replaces the traditional picture of the passivity of our emotional nature with one of the subject's active participation in her emotional experiences.

Emotion originates in a degradation of consciousness faced with a certain situation. The spontaneous conscious grasp of the situation which characterizes an emotion, involves what Sartre describes as a 'magical' transformation of the situation.

Faced with an object which poses an insurmountable problem, the subject attempts to view it differently, as though it were magically transformed. Thus an imminent extreme danger may cause me to faint so that the object of my fear is no longer in my conscious grasp.

Or, in the case of wrath against an unmovable obstacle, I may hit it as though the world were such that this action could lead to its removal. The essence of an emotional state is thus not an immanent feature of the mental world, but rather a transformation of the subject's perspective upon the world.

In The Psychology of the Imagination, Sartre demonstrates his phenomenological method by using it to take on the traditional view that to imagine something is to have a picture of it in mind.

Sartre's account of imagining does away with representations and potentially allows for a direct access to that which is imagined; when this object does not exist, there is still an intention albeit unsuccessful to become conscious of it through the imagination.

So there is no internal structure to the imagination. It is rather a form of directedness upon the imagined object. Imagining a heffalump is thus of the same nature as perceiving an elephant.

Both are spontaneous intentional or directed acts, each with its own type of intentionality. The Ego Sartre's view also diverges from Husserl's on the important issue of the ego. For Sartre, Husserl adopted the view that the subject is a substance with attributes, as a result of his interpretation of Kant's unity of apperception.

Husserl endorsed the Kantian claim that the 'I think' must be able to accompany any representation of which I am conscious, but reified this 'I' into a transcendental ego.

Recommended Reading

Such a move is not warranted for Sartre, as he explains in The Transcendence of the Ego. Moreover, it leads to the following problems for our phenomenological analysis of consciousness.Mar 18,  · Existentialism Forums - Ask an expert about existentialism. "Even if god existed that would make no difference" What would Nietzsche say?

For Existentialist and Phenomenological philosophy, literature, art, and discussion. Required Reading: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Existentialism. Wikipedia's Existentialism Portal; Rules. Posts and top-level comments should reference existentialist thinkers or ideas, or make an original philosophical argument related to existentialism or leslutinsduphoenix.comibers: 25K.

A loose title covering: the individual, the experience of choice, and the absence of rational understanding of the universe with a consequent dread or sense of absurdity in human life. Existentialism. Existentialism is a catch-all term for those philosophers who consider the nature of the human condition as a key philosophical problem and who share the view that this problem is best addressed through ontology.


A discussion of existentialism

The general concern of existentialism is to give an account of what it is like to exist as a human being in the world. Epistemologically, it is denied that there can be an absolutely objective description of the world as it is without the intervention of human interests and actions.

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Existentialism: Who Am I?