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18131Re: [existlist] Cheater!

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  • timm
    Apr 2, 2003
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      > I would take it that the unchanging aspect of a plastic credit card is
      > that it is plastic. It is your interpretation of this object that makes
      > it take on an essence which is dependent upon your mind and may change
      > depending upon whose mind views it.

      Right, that makes sense - the materiality is unchanging. What I don't
      understand is that the Being-in-Itself seems to be based around a
      functional definition.

      "What Sartre always wanted his audience to understand was that he believed
      we always have the ability to choose a new role, a new state of being.
      Today, one might be a philosopher, while tomorrow that same person might
      wait tables." - Kaufmann, quoted on Chris' exist. site

      These are cultural, functional definitions of a person. So on the one
      hand, we have the materiality of the object; on the other, the
      functionality of a person. It seems like we're comparing apples and
      oranges. Perhaps the point of the philosopher/waiter illustration isn't
      so much the person's societal role as it is that it's one of the things
      that helps the person define him/herself internally. Like the character
      in Taxi Driver says, "A man becomes what he does."

      Can anyone help me out?

      -timm

      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "timm" <tmason@...>
      > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 4:24 PM
      > Subject: Re: [existlist] Cheater!
      >
      >
      > > > I am for-itself and the objects in the world are the
      > in-itself. The
      > > > in-itself is what it is. We can define it with an
      > unchanging definition
      > > > and it has no possibility to be anything other than what
      > it is. Once a
      > > > brick wall, ALWAYS a brick wall.
      > >
      > > I haven't read B&N but a question occurs to me here:
      > >
      > > Is this definition based on the function of the thing?
      > For example, a
      > > book is just a pile of woodpulp (or flyswatter) to someone
      > who is
      > > illiterate. It becomes something else if that person
      > becomes literate.
      > > Thus definition is in some way subjective, correct? When
      > Sartre refers to
      > > this unchanging definition, is he referring to its
      > definition in the mind
      > > of one individual?
      > >
      > > It also seems that there is a temporal dimension to
      > definition. For
      > > example, a credit card becomes a worthless piece of
      > plastic if your credit
      > > is suspended. The Alamo goes from a mission to a fort to
      > a historic
      > > landmark because of events that take place there, and as a
      > result its
      > > meaning to a person changes correspondingly. Granted, the
      > stone walls are
      > > still stone walls (albeit slowly weathering into dust)...
      > so what exactly
      > > is definition? Is it only the materiality of the object?
      > Are these
      > > cultural and temporal issues bracketed by Sartre?
      > >
      > > -timm
      > >
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