A Critique of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Ontology by Maurice Natanson

By Maurice Natanson

"Why is my ache perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed?" -Jeremiah "Existentialism" this day refers to faddism, decadentism, morbidity, the "philosophy of the graveyard"; to phrases like worry, dread, anxiousness, affliction, pain, aloneness, dying; to novelists resembling Jean-Paul Sartre, Dostoievski, Camus, Kafka; to philosophers like Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Marcel, Jaspers, and Sartre-and since it refers to, and is anxious with, all of those principles and people, existentialism has misplaced any clearer which means it will possibly have initially possessed. since it has such a lot of definitions, it may now not be outlined. As Sartre writes: "Most those who use the be aware existentialism will be em­ barrased in the event that they needed to clarify it, considering the fact that, now that the notice is the entire rage, even the paintings of a musician or painter is being referred to as existentialist. A gossip columnist . . . symptoms himself The Exis­ tentialist, in order that by way of this time the be aware has been so stretched and has taken on so vast a which means, that it not potential something in any respect. " 2 This kingdom of definitional confusion isn't really an unintentional or negligible topic. An try could be made during this creation to account for the confustion and to teach why any definition of existentialism in­ volves us in a tangle. First, even though, it can be crucial to nation in a tenta­ tive and intensely basic demeanour what issues of view are the following meant while reference is made to existentialism.

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5 Sartre means something quite different by 'freedom' than is intended in common usage or in general philosophical usage. Freedom, as it is generally understood, might be defined as "the ability to satisfy needs plus the ability to develop new needs, with the understanding, IEN,508. , 510-511. , 511. , 558. , 543. " 6 Sartre cannot accept such a definition. Sartre's ontological conception of freedom is not a description of those conditions external to man which allow him to choose among alternatives but, rather, freedom is the state of Being of the pour-so; to which the pour-soi is condemned.

88. , 21. 118 119 28 A CRITIQUE OF JEAN-PAUL SARTRE'S ONTOLOGY Sartre distinguishes between two types of nihilation. There is the nihilating structure of the pre-reflective cogito. " Although the original negation which arises from the pre-reflective cogito is the basis of all negation, there is a second type of nihilation which is the nihilating structure of temporality. "33 This is the area of negation which circumscribes the core of the poursoi. It is the Nothingness of that which separates the pour-soi from its past and from its future.

1 Since action is necessarily intentional, no political or economic fact can cause action in the individual. " The "lack" of the pour-so; is its Nothingness. ' Choice, freedom, and action are inextricably bound together in the existence of the pour-soi. There can be no freedom if there is no choice; there can be no choice if there is no freedom; there can be no action where there is no freedom. " 5 Sartre means something quite different by 'freedom' than is intended in common usage or in general philosophical usage.

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