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existential relevance

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  • Mary Jo
    The following was posted at Sartre by Tommy Beavitt. I find it humorous and en pointe. However, I m enjoying the current discourse between Bill, Trinidad and
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 28, 2004
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      The following was posted at 'Sartre' by Tommy Beavitt. I find it
      humorous and en pointe. However, I'm enjoying the current discourse
      between Bill, Trinidad and myself more relevant than the incomplete
      proposal of Sartre. One can't discuss phenomenology without science.
      Indeed, phenomenology has permeated science and vice-versa. Mary

      <I don't know if Olivia really explained to Joe why the article in
      Nature about "quantum darwinism" was relevant to Sartre's Look.
      Perhaps I can have a go.

      Sartre's Look is significant in terms of being-for-itself in its
      context of being-for-others because it is precisely what brings
      for-itself into that world of being-for-others. Without the Look,
      being-for-itself is free to perceive the world as it wishes, according
      to its own projects, untrammeled by the expectations or projects of

      As soon as for-itself is fixed by the Look of the other, it becomes a
      tool for the other's project and this is the instrumental mode of
      existence that Sartre wrote about. It is the tension between being the
      tool for the projects of others, and using others as tools in one's
      own projects, that characterises the mode of being-for-others.

      What the Nature article implies is that this Look extends to the
      in-itself in terms of fixing that in terms of the projects of the
      looker. Actually, Sartre already covered this when he writes about the
      in-itself always appearing "as" something: an ashtray is just a lump
      of matter but it becomes functional when looked at by someone whose
      project it is to smoke a cigarette and have somewhere other to put the
      ash than the tablecloth. But Sartre stops short of saying that the
      Look actually re-arranges the structure of matter.

      I just love these American "scientists", don't you? They can't just
      come out with it and say that the world that is seen is conditioned by
      the power one has to alter people's perception of it. They have to
      come up with this "darwinism" euphemism in order to get published in

      People talked about "social darwinism" as recently as the 80s as an
      acceptable means of explaining why the rich get richer and the poor
      stay poor, without the indelicacy of calling the former greedy
      buggers. Ah! That is why! I always wondered...

      So now, the guardians of objective reality, the physical world as it
      is prior to being instrumentalised by the projects of the for-itself -
      I mean physicists - have buckled under the strain of power which seeks
      for itself the privilege of determining the what-ness of all that is
      and can only come up with this most feeble of excuses for a physical
      explanation: "quantum darwinism".

      If it wasn't for their own misplaced attachment to "objectivity" I
      would be tempted to join the Marxists...> Tommy Beavitt
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