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

By Maurice Natanson

"Why is my discomfort perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed?" -Jeremiah "Existentialism" this present day refers to faddism, decadentism, morbidity, the "philosophy of the graveyard"; to phrases like worry, dread, anxiousness, agony, anguish, aloneness, dying; to novelists akin to Jean-Paul Sartre, Dostoievski, Camus, Kafka; to philosophers like Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Marcel, Jaspers, and Sartre-and since it refers to, and is worried with, all of those principles and individuals, existentialism has misplaced any clearer which means it will possibly have initially possessed. since it has such a lot of definitions, it will possibly now not be outlined. As Sartre writes: "Most those that use the note existentialism will be em­ barrased in the event that they needed to clarify it, on the grounds 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 . . . indicators himself The Exis­ tentialist, in order that by way of this time the notice has been so stretched and has taken on so extensive a that means, that it now not skill something in any respect. " 2 This nation of definitional confusion isn't an unintentional or negligible subject. An try might 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, besides the fact that, it is crucial to country 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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88 84 THE OTHER 37 If "this object that the Other is for me and this object that I am for the Other are manifested as bodies,"37 then Sartre asks, What is my body? and What is the body of the Other? " 39 My body cannot be both of these two aspects at the same time. 40 Because of this double relation, I may be present to a ·part of my body without its being me or my being it. This double relation derives from the fact that I cannot sense one of my organs sensing. I cannot see my eye seeing. When I do "seize" my eye, it is as an aspect of the world-an object for me-or else "it is that by which ...

It is primarily through a deEN. 559. , 662. , 689.

Thus, meanings are always meanings in situo, related to persons ... involved. In their totality these utensils reveal more than objectivity: they are objects which resist us. " ~o The resistance of utensils to the pour-soi reveals the nature of the position of the pour-soi in the world. There is a dialectic of interaction between the objects, the Others, and the Self. This dialectic can- '8 EN. 372. , 381. , 387. 'I Ibid. , 389. 51 The body involves infinitely more than simply the flesh I inhabit.

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