phenomenology

This post is primarily for the person who asked for an intro to phenomenology…if anyone else learns something, gains pleasure from reading it, or even disputes my ‘story’ then I am pleased. I am going to kill two birds with one stone…deal with phenomenology and Sartre together.

Phenomenology arose basically out of a single problem…what is called the ‘problem of cognition’ (this is Husserl’s term for the problem as stated in his Ideas of Phenomenology…a book I highly recommend to the uninitated). The problem of cognition is nothing more than ‘Can, and if so, how can we have knowledge of the objective world?’. The problem goes all the way back to Descartes. Remember, Descartes believed that the only things we could have indubitable knowledge of are our own thoughts (other conclusions he had, which most all philosophers post-Descartes rejects, and they are all grounded on this knowledge anyway). The backdrop of this is the sense-impression theory of perception. Things in the external world impress my senses, which send those impressions to my mind, I have the ideas of them that sometimes corresponds to the objects that caused the impressions (think of the bent looking oar in the water to see why this view might seem correct). But all we are cognitant of are our ideas, so how do we know if they correspond? The answer is, we don’t. The conclusion, solipsism. Nobody wants that, so there was a big reaction to this view. Of course, nobody proved that solipsism is incorrect (and if anyone came closest, I would argue that it was Sartre) but several things happened that had important influences on phenomenology.

Descartes, and other sense-impression theorists, believed that the mind is a completely passive substance…it simply recieves information from impressions and reacts. kant comes along and says ‘no no no…the mind is very active…so active in fact that it is the mind itself that provides the very structures that make an experienced world possible’. These are the famous categories…space, time, causality, and so forth. Kant argued that beyond the phenomenal (what is experienced, i.e. structured by the categories) we can have no knowledge…as a matter of fact, it doesn’t even make sense to talk about things outside this scheme (that is why the idealists became idealists, they saw the existence of things not experienced, and in light of the active mind, as contradictory and thus rejected them). But, we exist as more than just experience…we are also that thing that is doing the experiencing…that is providing the categories, and so forth (or at least Kant thought). Because we can only experience according to the categories, we cannot experience our true self as it is in itself independent of the projecting structures that it has already been subjected to. This self, the one that cannot be experienced but projects the categories, is called the transcendental self or transcendental I, and is very important (think about Descartes’ view of the self…once we bring in Kant, we find that what Descartes thought was the self is not really the true self…that is just one implication). Very important for phenomenology (read almost any phenomenologist and you will run across the term transcendental seemingly a million times…what I said above is basically the ideas that they are referring to).

This is where phenomenology takes off from. Husserl comes in and says that both Descartes and Kant were right about certain things. Descartes was right in that all we are directly aware of are our own thoughts. kant was right in that the mind is active. But, Husserl suggested, neither of those conclusions lead to solipsism, or the view that we cannot have real knowledge of the objective world. What did he propose to offer to show us this? You guessed it, phenomenology.

Phenomenology is a method. The first step of the method is Descartes first step in the ‘Meditations’…there we call it methodological doubt, Husserl calls it the ‘epoche’ taken from the Greek skeptics…it basically means to suspend judgement. This means that you look at phenomena, or your experiences, and you suspend judgement on whether they correspond to external reality. Doing this does two things, or Husserl believed. First, it will provide us with a deeper understanding of consciousness itself…we will examine consciousness as consicousness without the external world hindering us. Furthermore, in doing this, we come to find that certain ‘essences’ provided to us from what we experience necessarily (‘necessarily’ is important) lead to the conclusion that they are not mind-dependent…these essences are objective…even though the objects as consciousness are not (except for Sartre)…and solipsism is refuted.

For the most part, most post-Husserlian phenomenologists do not believe that Husserl was successful…and Husserl himself probably did not in the end…he later in his life took a very Kantian turn in his philosophy and pretty much became a full blown idealist. To explain to you what the above is all about, how it is supposed to work, I will use Sartre, because in my view he is quite convincing and I have a much better grasp of his philosophy.

When we look at our experience, we can basically divide them into two types…physical and non-physical (this is not a deep metaphysical issue of materialism or something like that…Sartre doesn’t even play that game) it is a very general…and sometimes fuzzy but usually pretty accurate way of thinking about our experience. The physical is basically experiences that are sense-grounded…what we see, hear, touch, and so forth, and the non-physical are basically our ideas, emotions, and so forth (Sartre believed that our emotions and ideas do superviene on the external world, but did not think it was accurate to call the external world either physical or non-physical).

Is there anything about certain objects of our experience, the ones that we would call physical or seem to have an ‘objective’ aspect to them, that would lead us to believe that this is true…and this something being something that we experience about them? Sartre believed so…and it is the essences that these things have. The essence of these kinds of things…non-mind-dependent things, is what he calls the principle of the series of their appearing. It is not seeing this that led philosophers like Berkeley to remain at the level of phenomena and conclude with idealism.

There are at least two aspects to the principle of the series of the non-mind-dependent…the unknown and the lack of control that we have over this unknown. What is meant by this can be shown by an example and distinguishing it from the mind-dependent.

You are looking at your computer screen right now. What appears to you is an aspect of it…only so many of the sides it has. The sides not given to you in your experience are the unknown…you have to turn the computer around or get up and go look…you can see that it is there or whatever, and then some other side is hidden from you. It is possible that when you got up and looked at the unknown (making it known) that it be different from how you thought it might be, different from how you want it to be, different from how you remembered it the last time, and in the case of some phenomena, nothing (john was not there when I looked for him). The principle of the series is the sum possibilities of ways that a thing can ‘be’. This sum is not subject to our minds…not even a miniscule of the possibilities are…I cannot make the computer pop out of existence just by thinking it, I can’t make the unknown appear blue just because I think it to, and so forth. We have to physically use our bodies to alter physical things, and that is fine, because our bodies also fall under the non-mind-dependent (I cannot make my brown hair turn red just by thinking it…although I can believe it is by thinking it, but beliefs are mind-dependent…hair is not).

In distinction with these kinds of things, there are mind-dependent things, like ideas, concepts, beliefs, and so forth. These are mind-dependent because there are no aspects that are unknown and it is within our power to decide the principle of their series. The backside of my computer can be blue in my idea, john can be in my imagination of the room even if he is not physically in the room, and so forth. However, even though these things, unlike what we think of as physical objects, are mind-dependent, they are objectively existing realities…everything is ‘external’ for Sartre…but that is a long conversation in itself.

Later on, Sartre says that he doesn’t think that what he has said has refuted solipsism, although he does say some interesting things that he does think his views imply. What is important for this discussion is that you have an idea of phenomenology and an idea of Sartre. What you notice is that they are dealing with a problem and they attempt to resolve it not through logical reasoning, deduction or inductive reasoning or anything like that, or even through experiments, but by examining the appearances themselves and from the appearances suggesting what must be the case. I say this because true phenomenological claims are necessary claims (although just how many of such claims are successful is a matter of debate).

This was a rather long post but I wish someone had told me what I just told you when I first got interested in phenomenology…I would had about a two year jump start.

Trey

-----I was the one who requested the post and am most grateful for it.

----- I am about half-way through being and nothingness (The Hazel Barnes translation). In it Sartre frequently contrasts “being-in-itself” and “being-for-itself”. Do they respectively correspond to “non-mind-dependent” and “mind-dependent” or am i completely off base? Sartre owes a lot to Husserl and Heidegger. I probably should have read Husserl first. Heideggers idea of inquiring about being by contrasting it with non-being seems mystical and a bit suspect, but i remain open to new information on this. Some of Sartre’s conclusions seem to echo reality, but seeing how he got there is difficult.

Wonderful! Thanks for the crash course I enjoyed it. For a more intense introduction what would you suggest that I begin with, Sartre or Husserl? and what book? Thanks Trey.

im also reading being and nothingness or should i say i was ( no time now, too much stupid homework…i’ll have to go back to it later) … dont really know what to say about it…

Glad ya’ll enjoyed it. I have been working seriously on Being and Nothingness for about a year now, although I have been familar with Sartre for quite awhile just through survey classes and stuff. My first exposure to phenomenology was with Merleau-Ponty, a french contemporary of Sartre. I wouldn’t suggest at first to try and make your way through his major work…Phenomenology of Perception, but I would suggest that you read the preface he wrote to it. It is very famous and a thick but good little intro, both to the history and to what was currently the issues in phenomenology when MP (and Sartre) was writing.

Assuming you have a pretty good grasp of Descartes and Kant,

Begin with Husserl’s Ideas of Phenomenology (not the ‘ideas’ which is a different book). The IofP is a short little book based on 5 or so lectures that Husserl gave. It is very down to earth, not jargon filled, and explains all the major concepts.

For Sartre, Being and Nothingness is not the best book to begin with. After reading Ideas of Phenomenology, then I would suggest Existentialism is a Humanism. Even if you have read it sometime in the past, it is good to refresh your mind on it all (existence precedes essence, why Sartre thinks we are free in the sense that he uses the term, and so forth). This is important because basically Being and Nothingness is a metaphysical defense of his existentialism. If you can get your hands on Transcendence of the Ego by Sartre, read that next. It is a good intro to Sartre’s view of consciousness…what and why he rejects aspects of Husserl and so forth. Then, I would turn to Being and Nothingness, and prepare to spend a lot of time with it if you want to really understand it. It is so condensed and hard to read that you really have to go slow, rereading and rereading parts of it. Thankfully, the Intro is the hardest part of the book…but also the part that you need to play closest attention to.

‘mind dependent’ is a very loose way of explaining what I was getting at…I just didn’t want to assume too much knowledge about Sartre’s view of consciousness. Sartre contrasts the mind with consciousenss, they are not the same…and actually ‘ego’ or ‘self’ would be a better word for mind…and we would talk about what is consciousness dependent…the self is. There is some debate over the possibilty of a dualism in being in itself and being for itself…I don’t think there is, this is a misunderstanding of Sartre’s view of nothingness…one is still thinking in terms of ego being identifed with consciousness. Being in itself is brute being…it is like Parmenides’ ‘One’. It is undifferentiated ‘mass’. Being for itself can be thought of as a ‘hole’ in this undifferentiated mass. It is the negation of being…which makes possible there to be phenomena…or presence of intentional objects…like the self, physical objects, and so forth.

One way to think about it is that consciousness for Sartre is like a movie camera. It has no movie content in itself…but everything that is intended makes up the movie. Even your body, although you have a special relationship to this phenomenon. When you watch the movie, you only indirectly experience the camera…the same with consciousness…what you are directly experiencing is the contents of the movie. Consciousness is presence exactly because it is not present…like the camera. Consciousness is a negating force, it is by negating itself that it posits objects. A simple way to think about that in down to earth terms is that you have to in some sense realize that what you are experiencing is not you in order for there to be the distinction between you and an other…and when there is not this distinction then there can be no you.

If you are reading Being and Nothingness right now, I will be glad to talk about specific passages in the book, putting them into context for you and explaining in real world language what Sartre is saying…understanding in concrete terms his jargon is one of the hardest parts of reading the book.

On Heidegger. Heidegger is tough also…but not as tough as Sartre in my view, once you see what Heidegger is doing and get familar with his langauge. One point I would like to make though about Heidegger is that you can try to distinguish when he is doing metaphysics proper and when he is doing phenomenology. For example, Heidegger says that the world is suspended in a nothingness. If we read that in terms of a metaphysical claim, it is real hard to see what he might mean…and like Carnap’s analysis, it might even appear as if Heidegger is talking just plain meaningless nonsense. But if you read it as a claim about our experience of the world…specifically our relation to the world qua experience, then I think there is something quite meaningful he is expressing…although it might not be easy for one to express what he is trying to express…but that is exactly what makes the book (Being and Time) as deep as it is (at least in my opinion). In the end, the phenomenology and metaphysics becomes one…but thinking in terms of the phenomenology makes it easier to keep in mind that it is all about experience and relation.

Trey

Nice exposition of phenomenology. Would you mind posting it to our forum, too, if the administrator of I Love Philosophy has nothing dagegen.

Trey,

Just wanted to say that your intro to Phenomenology and Sartre was most excellent. I enjoyed reading it and would love to discuss it further with you or anyone interested.

Yeah, me too, and I feel that even a year later, I’ve only just begun.

Funny, I’ve always tried to avoid that game as well. I also feel that Sartre’s dichotomy can be well defended, so that rather than seeming to “avoid” the game, we can find that the game doesn’t exist in the first place.

Precisely! It was Sartre’s modification of the Cartesian cogito into a “pre-reflective” consciousness such that(as you recall in the intro of B&N) it would not be correct to say that “I” am conscious of the chair, but rather that “there is consciousness of the chair,” disintegrating the “ego” and presenting the reflection of the “self” as equivalent to the chair…“more being.” Yes, “ego” is “in the world” like the chair. You got it, Trey, when you say-

I look forward to discussing these matters with all of you.

I might also add that anyone interested in Phenomenology should aquaint themselves with the traditional Rationalisms and Empiricisms, as well as Psychologism, a species of Naturalism, all of which were rejected by Husserl.

Where can the phenomenological neophytes (like yours truly) go to learn more in preparation for the revival of this most excellent (source: Bill and Ted) thread?

I must say, Marshall, you are a wonderful host. I am excited to be here participating in these discussions. You have an enthusiasm that is rare in these parts.

The best way to prepare for our Phenomenological adventure, I would suggest, is to sit in front of a glass of water and stare at it. Take notes about its position in the room, its relation to other objects in the room, the room itself. Then, remove the glass of water, observe the same room, now, with the absence of the glass of water, look at the table on which the glass of water once sat. Imagine the glass of water in the same spot as it once was. Take notes. Next, put the glass of water back on the table. Observe. What have you noticed that’s different about the glass, the table, the room? Not a goddamn thing! [laughing] You have just performed your first phenomenological reduction. You have “put the world into parenthesis,” you have “bracketed existence.” Still, there the world is, gratuitous, ambiguous, de trop forever. Congratulations, my friend.

No, I’m playing around. We’ll get serious when the wrecking crew gets here.

Geez, do we have a wrecking crew? Or are we on our own? Husserl is dead, bless his soul.

Thank you. How could my enthusiasm be less for who most people consider the leading intellectual of our time and the only person ever to refuse the Nobel prize for literature? One of Sartre’s (i believe it was he) first phenomenological writings was about a glass of beer. I’m currently reading Camus, who broke with Sartre.

I have always been leary of those stressing being, or those positing nothingness against something and using the two to define each other, nevertheless, Sartre’s philosophy is relevant and interesting. It says in my 440 contributors Cambridge dict of philos that one of the few things all phenomenologists agree on is the notion of intentionality. Could you tell me what that means in general or at least what it mean’t for Sartre?

…leaving the stage, Sartre winks with his one good eye and snickers “I am not an institution,…he he he.”

Husserl’s theory of Intentionality is adopted from Brentano. They both disagree with the empiricists’s “naturalization” of consciouness," claiming that there are “a priori” truths about consciousness that were mistook as empirical truths about consciousness, as if it were a substance. In this sense, he(Husserl) was a rationalist. But he also claimed that these a priori truths are located in a special kind of perception/conception, disagreeing with Kant and Descartes with their separation of “in the mind” from “in the world,” like the “mind” recieved from the world but was not part of the world, your typical idealism. In this sense he was an empiricist. Husserl said that the previous theories of the mind were careless products of an improper examination and phenomenological description. Failing to explain what “consciousness” really is.

We would begin with a base rule, that “consciousness” is always of a being other than itself, and even then, only pre-reflective(nonpositional consciousness of being conscious). This mean that consciousness always takes an object. It can be a physical object in the world, an emotion such as love or hate, or any other concept and/or cognition. The Cartesian cogito is the starting point, and it shows that existence and consciousness are not ontologically equivalent. For to “exist” one would be in a position to doubt it, even then, one would have to exist to doubt. You know the drill. From this starting point we must consider “experience” as something that is a totality of two interacting part; being/existents and consciousness, since we cannot experience what exists without being able to doubt that what we experience does not exist, even then existing to doubt at all. It is here that we describe the objects of knowledge by combining both the possibility for nonempirical a priori truths such as mathematics; "a ninety degree triangle for one must be a ninety degree triangle for all, that the idea of the number six is not an idea of mine, etc., and empirical truths about experience such as this statement “this post is at this forum,” and the fact that it is true that I “believe” this, but not that it is true. A phenomenon experienced by consciousness isn’t simply an “object” or is it simply an intuition. It is a combination of both. There is no distinction between the “truth” of an experience and “what is believed to be true” in/of an experience, to put it one way. So “reality” lies somewhere between consciousness and being. To get a proper description of this “reality” we need to examine how being and consciousness interacts, a metaphysic.

The central and most important aspect of this interaction is that consciousness takes it’s objects for something else; an intention. Sartre, and especially Heidegger, claimed that our experience in the world was as a “use” of the instrumental complexes of existents. Example, I push these buttons to print these words to post this post to have you read it, or, I love her so that I am compassionate so that I am virtuous so that I am moral, etc etc. The “reason” why I engage in these actions is always in the future, therefore what actions I take toward/with/for what objects I know are intentional because they are for an intention for something else, for something else, ad infinitum. Make sense? A new term would be introduced by Sartre- “transcendent”- for a definition of experience. “Consciousness,” as itself, is transcendent(viable but not “in the world”), because it is both not it’s object of consciousness(a nothingness) and not “unintended,” haphazardous and superflous or determined and given. “Being” lies undifferentiated in the absence of consciousness, it is superflous. The “world” is what is experienced as the interaction of intentional objects and consciousness. Freedom is the ensemble of an intention/act/end, an indetermined state.

What do you think about this idea? We can go further. Also, run a google search in the mean time.

God! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me understand this.

He refused to be bought out! Voila un homme!

I looked at this (shallow) site:
http://grimpeur.tamu.edu/~colin/Phil251/lect2-brentano.html
better is:
http://humanities.ucsc.edu/NEH/smith2.pdf
So there is no mind/body split in phenomenology as in Descartes?

So consciousness always takes some object. Consciousness is conscious of something. And consciousness is never conscious of itself?

Sounds good. I really ought to dust off being and nothingness. I read about half of it with all my being and then it sits on the shelf, soaking up nothingness. I really liked Sartre’s no exit play.

Yes, but it is much different. I’ll explain. Descartes, like Sartre, both consider the cogito to be an ontological proof and support for a dichotomy, however Descartes believed that he had to prove the existence of a “God” to guarantee the independent existence of the physical universe. Descartes reasoned, correctly, that he could not doubt the existence of his own consciousness. But he didn’t believe that it would be possible to get from the knowledge of his own consciousness to knowledge of a being other than consciousness. He was a hardcore rationalist who believed that “consciousness” were to be considered a “realm” of its own, supportive of reality, but not dependent on the existence of reality, not empirical. “Spirit,” I guess one might call it. Sartre held the same ontological proof that “consciousness” was seperate from being, but took a kind of epiphenomenal turn saying that yes, consciousness is to be treated as a seperate entity but it has no effect on being, in a word, it is a contingent aspect of the existence of a reality. It is dependent on the existence of an extermal world but makes no difference on that world with its existence, a kind of realism and empiricism. Being doesn’t rely on consciousness to “be,” according to Sartre, and he would even be willing to be a sort of neurological reductionist holding that “mind” was a secondary feature or property of the body, but still unwilling to compare mind with “consciousness,” consciousness not being able to be reduced to neurological states or neuronal inertia. Also, Sartre didn’t believe that the “mind” was a container that had “contents,” that it was[insert slogans here] a “void,” a nothingness. Unfortunately Descartes didn’t have access to the scientific reasearch that modern philosophers have at their disposal, plus he was influenced and exposed to very religious times, and certainly not the technician Sartre was. Obviously his system is a little more crude yet still philosophically sound, but that’s not the point. He held that he could only prove the existence of his consciousness, in his case, the world had to be dependent on his/our consciousness to exist without a God, and that if there were to be a support for an independently existing world, it had to be the work of a “third party,” so to speak. Primitive, but if you read Meditations, you will see the long drawn out process of how Descartes comes to this conclusion. Anyway, dualists, yes, using the same ontological proof, yes, but using entirely different metaphysical systems after that point of departure.

Yes. If you are conscious, you are conscious of something else, and this “something else” is not your consciousness. The phenomenologists did, however, allow that one be “self” conscious but that this kind of consciousness was “nonpositional,” and “noncognitive.” Nonpositional means that consciousness doesn’t focus on itself as some object in the world. Noncognitive would mean that the awarness involved would fall short of “knowledge,” since knowledge was the presence of consciousness to being, to the world. A good example of noncognitive would be how I use tools at work. When I first learned how to use them I had to focus and concentrate while learning. Now that I am familiar with them, I operate them automatically, without the same concentration. I am conscious of my using them, but unless somebody asks me how I’m using them I’d have no reason to focus on the use of that object of my attention to register it as “knowledge.” My awarness would be pre-reflective, I would be conscious of using the tools, but not conscious of myself being conscious of the tools, if that makes any sense to you. The pre-reflective cogitio is allowed one time, and this is to avoid an infinite reduction; one can be conscious of their consciousness, but not conscious of their consciousness of their consciousness, etc. Obviously nonpositional would be the given; that self-consciousness can not be consciousness of an “object.”

The first link you posted(the one you said was shallow) I think is pretty good. It gives a concise and critical intro to the the primary characteristics of phenomenology that set it apart from the opposing systems. Often I find that learning what a specific discipline is not is a quick way of comprehending what it is. The link shows the differences quite well.

A tautology can be very true and correct and yet shallow. I’ll look at it again.

Great post, although i do have to say its not possible to sum Sartre up that quickly, because his literature does tell another story, and does give a more clear prespective on his viewpoints, although he did also focus on Marx and Dialectical Reasoning. You might want to give that book a look.

Sartre’s biggest work is in his book “Being and Nothingness” (L’Être et le Neant). Which is very concreet. In the application, which one can see as the play “No Exit” (Huis Clos), there is a clear line between the role of the self and others. Interesting how the role of others is a large contributing factor to our lives. THat is why in “No Exit”, the famous line is “Hell is other people” (L’enfer, c’est les autres)

So phenomenology and Sartre and phenomenology isn’t interwined. But since Sartre was a lecturer at the Sorbonne, he was one amazing academic, and did extensive work on Hegel, Heidegger, Husserl and turned communist later on, focussing a lot on Marx and the communist manifesto.

Sartre’s litterature contributions tell more about Sartre as a philosopher as any of his academic texts ever will…

*~Kayla

“i do have to say its not possible to sum Sartre up that quickly”

I agree with you, as, obviously, one can’t explain what two pages means in one page. However, the thread was created by Trey in a response to someone who was interested in phenomenology. After providing a brief and excellent introduction to the fundamentals of phenomenology, he chose Sartre, since his theory is most familiar to him, as an example of a philosophy that uses the phenomenological method. Later on, as I am also familiar with Sartre, used his dichotomy in the comparison of Cartesian mind/body dualism to a phenomenological, and/or existential, dualism…Sartre’s system anyway. I have not, and I don’t believe that Trey has either, attempted to “sum” up Sartre. The reference to Sartre is not the focal point of this thread though…

“his literature does tell another story, and does give a more clear prespective on his viewpoints”

…is debatable, I will admit that such a short description of Sartre, as Trey and I have shown, would be insufficient…regardless of whether or not we are discussing his philosophy or his fiction.

Sartre was always writing stories. Even as a child he would retreat from normal childhood activities to write, which, he claimed was more of a compensation to the fact that as the ugly if not odd child that he was, the other kids didn’t like him anyway. What we get in Sartre’s fictions is a more personal and intimate experience, his existentialism as he, personally, can it apply it to his life or the fantastical lives that he creates for/with his characters. It is a showcasing, a sculpture, a diary, a memoir of how existentialism is and can be “lived.” In getting his “views” and practical applications of these existential themes of life, yes, I believe that this reading will be more nourishing than his text books. But consider that behind these stories there is a very technical blue-print. When I read Nausea, because I had already read Being-and Nothingness, Search For A Method, Anti-Semite and Jew, among other works, Nausea was more palatable for me. I could see each detail of his philosophy placed perfectly in the plot and theme of the story. In this sense I would say that reading the fictions written by a philosopher after reading the philosophy itself, is a richer experience as the story line is carried with greater precision.

“So phenomenology and Sartre and phenomenology isn’t interwined.”

What does this mean?

“Sartre’s litterature contributions tell more about Sartre as a philosopher as any of his academic
texts ever will…”

Well, yes and no.

No exit was written due to a request by three actors or actresses who all wanted an equal number of lines and limelight. I consider it an excellent work. “Hell is other people” is very frequently misunderstood and is often given by itself, divorced from the rich context of Sartre’s explanation of it.

Hey Mcdaniel, long time no see, I don’t know if you remember me, but anyway, how’s it going.

I think the thing that your point about Sartre philosophizing about a glass of beer made me think of part of the reason that Sartre was such a success. He philosophized about everyday things and by doing so he made philosophizing fun. Think about Sartre. He sat in cafes (what would be StarBucks today) and chatted with his buddies all day. Philosophizing about a pint of beer is fun especially if you were going to drink it after. Going into an art museum (in “Nausea”) and playfully musing about all the stern paintings of the important people was amusing. Looking at the old Oak tree (in “Nausea”) that seemed at a glance made it seem like all of reality was bleeding together was sort of a trippy experience, more out of a Hunter S. Thompson novel than anything else. I even watched a documentary that said he and his buddies used to go to burlesque shows and even intellectualize that and why not?

Although he has written many things intended to be taken very serious (“Anti-Semite and Jew”,“Being and Nothingness”, “Existentialism and Human Emotions”) maybe in fact he became famous for making philosophy fun, for making it something that anyone would or could want to do at least occasionally. Perhaps he went far in romanticizing the “cafe philosopher” and at least in someways advertise “philosophy for everybody”. The fact that no one seemed to like him yet 10,000 people showed up for his funeral or the fact that he turned down a Nobel Prize are both quite amusing and thought provoking. One thing is for sure the pugley little man did have a sense of humor and perhaps because of it, unlike other stuffy philosophers, he actually got laid once in a while.

You are wasting your time with those Sophists.

Philosophy ends here (the others are mere footnotes):

Nice chatting with you again theoryofexist. I remember reading being and nothingness where one of Sartre’s first analogies involves a pinball machine. I was a pinball necromancer at the time, i mean i really loved and played the game. I liked that analogy.

Apparently Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir (beaver, what a nickname he had for her :laughing: ) had an open relationship. They frequently saw other people.