Sartre vocabulary definitions

Sartre vocabulary definitions
sebojones
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Posted Aug 6, 2009 - 9:15 AM:
Subject: Sartre vocabulary definitions
There are some words not in the glossary and which I can't find definitions for on the internet. I need some help to understand them:
1. Erlebnis (apparently a german term that Sartre borrows)
2. Selbstandigkeit
3. reflexive/non-reflexive as opposed to reflective/non-reflective
4. thetic/non-thetic
5. ...in the woof of... (this might be a phrase of the translator rather than Sartre)
6. I'm not sure what the 'Gestalt school' is.

Also I think I'm right in saying that Sartre says that the nothingness which is the distance of the for-itself from itself is the origin of the negation. Also I think he says that the negation precedes and facilitates consciousness. If consciousness is a nothingness, does Sartre not go round in a circle here? I'm not sure if he regards the for-itself as causa sui or if the nature of the original negation as atemporal removes the need for a chronological establishment of negation, nothingness and consciousness or if the answer is something else entirely. I'd appreciate some enlightenment on that, too.
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Posted Aug 6, 2009 - 2:09 PM:

the assumption that these words have a meaning, may be incorrect.
makerowner
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Posted Aug 7, 2009 - 8:06 AM:

I can only help with some of these, because it's been a while since I've read Sartre, and I'm not sure how some of his terms are translated.
sebojones wrote:
1. Erlebnis (apparently a german term that Sartre borrows)
This is often translated as "lived experience" or "life-experience". It's a basic term of Husserlian phenomenology.
2. Selbstandigkeit
This is a term Heidegger uses in Being and TIme. Macquarrie and Robinson translate it as "self-constancy".
5. ...in the woof of... (this might be a phrase of the translator rather than Sartre)
It's hard to tell without the context, but presumably he's talking about the warp and woof of a fabric.
6. I'm not sure what the 'Gestalt school' is.
It was a school of psychology in the 20s that mostly studied perception. They showed how our perception is not simply a translation of retinal impressions into images, but that our visual field is organized in certain ways, which can be exploited to create optical illusions.
Also I think I'm right in saying that Sartre says that the nothingness which is the distance of the for-itself from itself is the origin of the negation. Also I think he says that the negation precedes and facilitates consciousness. If consciousness is a nothingness, does Sartre not go round in a circle here? I'm not sure if he regards the for-itself as causa sui or if the nature of the original negation as atemporal removes the need for a chronological establishment of negation, nothingness and consciousness or if the answer is something else entirely. I'd appreciate some enlightenment on that, too.
The for-itself is not causa sui in Sartre; that's the meaning of the term 'facticity'. I don't remember a lot of the details, but I would suggest that you make sure to distinguish between 'nothingness' and 'negation': the first is ontological, it's what makes the for-itself possible; the second is an act of the for-itself. My other suggestion depends on the translation. In the French, Sartre distinguishes between la conscience, consciousness, and une conscience, a state of consciousness. La conscience is a nothingness, but une conscience is the result of a negation. I don't know if the translation makes that clear or not.
Banno wrote:
the assumption that these words have a meaning, may be incorrect.
Your assumption that they don't is incorrect.
sebojones
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Posted Aug 7, 2009 - 1:14 PM:

Thanks very much.
parameter wrote:
Sartre distinguishes between la conscience, consciousness, and une conscience, a state of consciousness


Would I be right in thinking that la conscience and une conscience correspond to reflective and unreflective consciousness respectively (where unreflective consciousness is of an object i.e through negation, and reflective consciousness is of the self in the form of the dyad reflection-reflecting)?
If that's true, my glossary tells me that reflective consciousness/ la conscience is thetic or positional consciousness. This is a nothingness. Likewise, unreflective consciousness is non-thetic or non-positional consciousness. This is the result of a negation.


Anyone, do correct me if I'm wrong or going too far.
It seems to me then, that reflective consciousness/la conscience logically and temporally precedes unreflective consciousness/une conscience because the nothingness of reflective consciousness is the foundation of the negation which leads to unreflective consciousness.
To clarify, first there is reflective consciousness. This is a nothingness. Then, this nothingness founds a negation of something which is in-itself. This negation leads to (unreflective) consciousness of that in-itself.

What puzzles me is that a nothingness (reflective consciousness) is the foundation of a negation (which leads to unreflective consciousness). Meanwhile, nothingness comes about through a negation. This negation must also be founded on a nothingness, which must have come about through a negation. etc. etc. to infinite regress.
In summary, how and in what order does consciousness, taking the word in both its senses, come to be?

Lastly, what is the difference between nihilation and negation?
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Posted Aug 20, 2009 - 9:27 PM:
Subject: Nothing but nothing and nothing besides.
Sebojones, you're correct about the distinction between positional consciousness and non-positional consciousness.

Consciousness exists by the virtue of intending something. It is nothing in itself and must always be consciousness of something. Sartre's maxim is simple: "Consciousness is consciousness of ____", where consciousness is consciousness of the world and consciousness of itself in many different ways. Then it follows that there is positional consciousness of the world and implicit non-positional consciousness or non-thetic consciousness (consciousness without which consciousness would not be conscious) and explicit positional self-consciousness or thetic consciousness in which consciousness reflects on itself. The latter two are often taken as self-consciousness but only the thetic consciousness is truly self-consciousness. Consciousness of consciousness is not truly self consciousness, because the self does not pre-exist the act by which consciousness reflects on itself. The self is a transcendent psychic object that emerges through the act of consciousness reflecting on itself.

Nihilation and negation are identical, as far as I know. Annihilation is something else - it is the utter destruction of being for itself, in which it no longer is the negation of being in itself. Once being for itself coincided with itself as a being for itself in itself, annihilation is the outcome. Therefore, being for itself can never coincide with itself, and it cannot be what it is by being its own foundation - it can only be founded upon what it is not.

Nothingness on the other hand is another name for non-being that is due to the translation from French to English. nothingness is nothing but non-being, the negation of being in itself, and should not be considered as nothingness in itself.
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