Being and Nothingness - Special Terminology Used By Sartre

Special Terminology Used By Sartre

Explanation of terms based on postscript to the English edition of Being and Nothingness by translator Hazel Barnes

  • Being (être): Including both Being-in-itself and Being-for-itself, but the latter is the nihilation of the former. Being is objective not subjective or individual.
  • Being-in-itself (être-en-soi): Non-conscious Being. The sort of phenomenon that is greater than the knowledge that we have of it.
  • Being-for-itself (être-pour-soi): The nihilation of Being-in-itself; consciousness conceived as a lack of Being, a desire for Being, a relation of Being. The For-itself brings Nothingness into the world and therefore can stand out from Being and form attitudes towards other beings by seeing what it is not.
  • Being-for-others (être-pour-autrui): Here a new dimension arises in which the self exists as an object for others. Each For-itself seeks to recover its own Being by making an object out of the other.
  • Consciousness: The transcending For-itself. Sartre states that "Consciousness is a being such that in its being, its being is in question insofar as this being implies a being other than itself."
  • Existence: Concrete, individual being-for-itself here and now.
  • Existence precedes essence. The subjective existence of reality precedes and defines its nature. Who you are (your essence) is defined by what you do (your existence).
  • Facticity (facticité): Broadly: facts about the world. More precisely, the For-itself's necessary connection with the In-itself, with the world and its own past.
  • Freedom: The very being of the For-itself which is "condemned to be free". It must forever choose for itself and therefore make itself.
  • Nothingness (néant): Although not having being, it is supported by being. It comes into the world by the For-itself.
  • Reflection (reflet): The form in which the For-itself founds its own nothingness through the dyad of "the-reflection-reflecting"
  • Reflection (réflexion):The consciousness attempting to become its own object.

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