By Jean Paul Sartre, Hazel Barnes

Being and Nothingness

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Additional resources for Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology

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HAZEL E. BARNES University of Colorado INTRODUCTION The Pursuit of Being I. THE PHENOMENON MODERN thought has realized considerable progress by reducing the exist· ent to the series of appearances which manifest it. Its aim was to over­ come a certain number of dualisms which have embarrassed philosophy and to replace them by the monism of the phenomenon. Has the attempt been successful? In the first place we certainly thus get rid of that dualism which in the existent opposes interior to exterior.

We can always agree that the percipi refers to a being not subject to the laws of the appearance, but we still maintain that this transphenomenal being is the being of the subject. Thus the percipi would refer to the percipiens-the known to knowl­ edge and knowledge to the being who knows (in his capacity as being, not as being known); that is, knowledge refers to consciousness. " FOT the law of being in the knowing subject is to-be-conscious. Consciousness is not a mode of particular knowledge which may be called an inner meaning or self-knowledge; it is the dimension of transphenom­ enal being in the subject.

He insists on accepting full responsibility for each of his acts. He gives up the role of spectator and voluntarily commits his free­ dom to the cause of the people of Argos. He is willing to give up his peace of mind for the sake of the suffering. He sets out alone to find new paths of action appropriate for man who can no longer discover his destiny by viewing himself as a part of Nature's plan. In short he accepts the tension of absolute freedom and total responsibility. In the play Orestes does not seem to know quite what course he will follow once he has left Argos, but we can feel sure that he will set a high premium on rational facing up to the facts of the human condition as he sees them and will work out principles of conduct consistent with his earlier pronounce­ ments.

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