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Re: Relevance of NDEs to Existentialism

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  • louise
    Wil, I am more sceptical than to take your statements for some kind of gospel truth, and it is no disrespect to your own learning. The fact is, that I
    Message 1 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
      Wil,

      I am more sceptical than to take your statements for some kind of
      gospel truth, and it is no disrespect to your own learning. The fact
      is, that I consider myself to have been an existentialist for nigh on
      three decades, and deem it reasonable to expect open discussion on
      the very topic of this list, which founds and develops itself in the
      work of various authors. It is an emotional matter, yes, for those
      of us who care about discourse, and its particular responsibilities,
      toward the countless life-forms on this planet. I am not a
      utilitarian, yet I acknowledge the reality of consequence. The
      questions at issue seem to me philosophically complex. Surely the
      Platonic Realism against which Sartre was contending does not exhaust
      the relevant meanings of the term, 'essence'? I agree with you about
      the inapposite wording, 'existence of an essence', yet in my opinion
      Joe's questioning of Mary's original statement in #43828 is perfectly
      legitimate. The patience with which we think, as human beings, takes
      a long time to evolve. I suppose that a quality like 'patience' is
      itself an essence. Some human existences exemplify it more than
      others. Probably there are sound, impatient answers you might put to
      what could be digressive and muddled on my part, but I do trust the
      messy kind of progress.

      Louise

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
      >
      > Louise,
      >
      > I haven't looked at CS's lexicon, and I will leave aside any
      remarks that
      > interpret Hegel as an otherworldly theorist for now (no, thank me
      later). But,
      > yes, I am "suggesting" that Sartre, as it were, 'abolishes' essence
      in favor of
      > existence. It is called "Existentialism"; you might check it out
      sometime.
      >
      > In other words, Sartre is contending against Platonic Realism (or
      what is
      > usually called Idealism).
      >
      > In any case, if I should explain the irony of Joe's statement and
      thoroughly
      > beat the dead horse to a pulp, the point would be that the
      demonstration of
      > 'the existence of an essence', besides being terminologically
      redundant, is also
      > precisely what an existentialist would NOT think possible.
      >
      > Wil
      >
      > In a message dated 3/2/08 1:59:52 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:
      >
      >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Wil,
      > >
      > > I like Joe's idea of a cooperative enterprise, in the effort to
      > > philosophise to some purpose. The irony of his statement, if such
      it
      > > was, also escaped me. Are you suggesting that Sartre's dictum is
      > > equivalent to the statement that existence abolishes essence?
      > > One starting-point for a Sartre neophyte like myself might be
      > > reference to the lexicon provided by CSW, in which existence is
      > > defined thus:
      > >
      > > ~ Existential thinkers write of existence as it is in its
      factuality
      > > as opposed to idealistic philosophy (such as Hegelianism) which
      > > equated essence with existence to the detriment of existence. ~
      > >
      > > In fact, such was the starting-point I decided upon, as evidenced
      by
      > > this post. I choose, therefore I am. Childlike, but relevant.
      > > Observing oneself, and all that.
      > >
      > > Louise
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > **************
      > Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.
      >
      > (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-
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      > 2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • eupraxis@aol.com
      Louise, You wrote: I am more skeptical than to take your statements for some kind of gospel truth, and it is no disrespect to your own learning. The fact is,
      Message 2 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
        Louise,

        You wrote: "I am more skeptical than to take your statements for some kind of
        gospel truth, and it is no disrespect to your own learning. The fact is, that
        I consider myself to have been an existentialist for nigh on three decades,
        and deem it reasonable to expect open discussion on the very topic of this
        list, which founds and develops itself in the work of various authors. It is an
        emotional matter, yes, for those of us who care about discourse, and its
        particular responsibilities, toward the countless life-forms on this planet."

        Response: 'Kay. Assuming that you are contending with my understanding of
        Sartre's B&N, show me. Sartre denies any kind of transcendence or
        otherworldliness. As Bill has put it, he goes right to edge of nihilism. [end]

        You wrote: "I am not a utilitarian, yet I acknowledge the reality of
        consequence. The questions at issue seem to me philosophically complex."

        Response: And this has something to do with what? How does that seem to you
        to be a question currently at issue? A consequence is something that comes
        after, as a result of. The "reality of a consequence" wouldn't be an essence,
        then, would it? If you use a nomological rendering of essence (say, an act is
        preceded by its potential penalties, etc.), then you are still playing the same
        Platonic card: only a god could guarantee in time such a moral law. I don't
        think that is what you mean, though. Otherwise, if a consequence is said to 'have
        a reality' in the essential sense of the term, that would be like saying
        "down" exists so that falling can happen. Any of these ways of thinking are
        anathematic to existentialism. [end]

        You wrote: Surely the Platonic Realism against which Sartre was contending
        does not exhaust the relevant meanings of the term, 'essence'?

        Response: It most certainly does exhaust the meaning of the term under
        discussion, as we were discussing precisely Sartre. [end]

        You wrote: I agree with you about the inapposite wording, 'existence of an
        essence', yet in my opinion Joe's questioning of Mary's original statement in
        #43828 is perfectly legitimate.

        Response: I was defending Mary's claim that, "in an existentialism forum, the
        burden is on you to show 1) that essence precedes existence, and 2) its
        relevance." The second part (the relevance part) is moot, of course. [end]

        You wrote: "The patience with which we think, as human beings, takes a long
        time to evolve. I suppose that a quality like 'patience' is itself an essence.
        Some human existences exemplify it more than others. Probably there are sound,
        impatient answers you might put to what could be digressive and muddled on my
        part, but I do trust the messy kind of progress."

        Response: I suppose you could understand patience in a Heideggerian way, as
        one of a kind of existentialia or basic existential categories of experience;
        something like Care, etc., although he prefers boredom and impatience. Do the
        existentialia precede existence, though? They can be said to logically precede
        Dasein's experience of the world, not unlike Kant's categories, but they have
        no reality outside of Dasein and are thus consanguine or coeval with presence.
        So I think we are back to the same place.

        Thus Spoke,
        WS


        In a message dated 3/2/08 2:40:20 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:


        >
        >
        >
        > Wil,
        >
        > I am more sceptical than to take your statements for some kind of
        > gospel truth, and it is no disrespect to your own learning. The fact
        > is, that I consider myself to have been an existentialist for nigh on
        > three decades, and deem it reasonable to expect open discussion on
        > the very topic of this list, which founds and develops itself in the
        > work of various authors. It is an emotional matter, yes, for those
        > of us who care about discourse, and its particular responsibilities,
        > toward the countless life-forms on this planet. I am not a
        > utilitarian, yet I acknowledge the reality of consequence. The
        > questions at issue seem to me philosophically complex. Surely the
        > Platonic Realism against which Sartre was contending does not exhaust
        > the relevant meanings of the term, 'essence'? I agree with you about
        > the inapposite wording, 'existence of an essence', yet in my opinion
        > Joe's questioning of Mary's original statement in #43828 is perfectly
        > legitimate. The patience with which we think, as human beings, takes
        > a long time to evolve. I suppose that a quality like 'patience' is
        > itself an essence. Some human existences exemplify it more than
        > others. Probably there are sound, impatient answers you might put to
        > what could be digressive and muddled on my part, but I do trust the
        > messy kind of progress.
        >
        > Louise
        >
        >
        >




        **************
        Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

        (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
        2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • louise
        ... some kind of ... fact is, that ... decades, ... of this ... authors. It is an ... and its ... this planet. ... understanding of ... nihilism. [end] ...
        Message 3 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
          >
          > Louise,
          >
          > You wrote: "I am more skeptical than to take your statements for
          some kind of
          > gospel truth, and it is no disrespect to your own learning. The
          fact is, that
          > I consider myself to have been an existentialist for nigh on three
          decades,
          > and deem it reasonable to expect open discussion on the very topic
          of this
          > list, which founds and develops itself in the work of various
          authors. It is an
          > emotional matter, yes, for those of us who care about discourse,
          and its
          > particular responsibilities, toward the countless life-forms on
          this planet."
          >
          > Response: 'Kay. Assuming that you are contending with my
          understanding of
          > Sartre's B&N, show me. Sartre denies any kind of transcendence or
          > otherworldliness. As Bill has put it, he goes right to edge of
          nihilism. [end]
          >

          No, I cannot show you. Am being honest, in declaring myself a Sartre
          neophyte; though I did read B&N many years ago, it has left virtually
          no trace. Many readers of this list will not have read the text. I
          am interested in the possibility that, besides the kind of erudite
          discussion you most prefer, there may be benefit and interest in
          other forms of posting. It should present no difficulty, if there be
          tolerance and adherence to the rules of the list, for precise debate,
          robust argument, inventive literary efforts, personal existential
          narratives, suggested reading lists, and good-humoured banter, to
          find place here. Though that is simply my own interpretation of what
          existlist is about, and it is not exhaustive, even from my own point
          of view. With regard to the specific point you make above, I am
          still seeking to understand the meanings and context of terms
          like 'transcendence' or 'otherworldliness'. I believe that the more
          one questions, if the enquiry be free, that is, conducted without
          aggression, the more may appear to view. Nature is everywhere, in a
          sense, including in the practice of philosophy, an apparently
          abstruse intellectual art, and will reveal most where respect for her
          mysteries prevail. If this seems too mushy for you, so be it. My
          own attitudes have mellowed through sustaining new experiences, and
          my scepticism has evolved and continues to do so. I intend to answer
          only one or two points in each e-mail, for clarity's sake.

          Louise
        • louise
          ... of ... complex. ... seem to you ... that comes ... an essence, ... an act is ... playing the same ... I don t ... You re right. I did not make clear the
          Message 4 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
            >
            > Louise,

            > You wrote: "I am not a utilitarian, yet I acknowledge the reality
            of
            > consequence. The questions at issue seem to me philosophically
            complex."
            >
            > Response: And this has something to do with what? How does that
            seem to you
            > to be a question currently at issue? A consequence is something
            that comes
            > after, as a result of. The "reality of a consequence" wouldn't be
            an essence,
            > then, would it? If you use a nomological rendering of essence (say,
            an act is
            > preceded by its potential penalties, etc.), then you are still
            playing the same
            > Platonic card: only a god could guarantee in time such a moral law.
            I don't
            > think that is what you mean, though.

            You're right. I did not make clear the context. It was a general
            point, about the consequences of posting any statement at a public
            forum like this. Whatever one writes, is multiply interpreted.
            Perhaps I was just encouraging myself, to take care in saying as
            exactly as possible what I mean. As opposed to the dubious practice
            of considering a general welfare, a form of liberalism to which I
            might be susceptible, and which I distrust extremely. I am, though,
            as you recall, a Nooist, and, as Eduard has recently stated, if you
            want a god you may have one to believe in. Existential
            responsibility, though, might urge caution, about whether or no you
            really know what you are doing, in finding, or choosing, such a god.
            Philosophical discipline is desirable, in order to avoid narrowly
            cultic affiliations which prove destructive. I have confidence in
            Nooism, because of my empiricism, and my respect for learning and
            wisdom.

            Louise


            Otherwise, if a consequence is said to 'have
            > a reality' in the essential sense of the term, that would be like
            saying
            > "down" exists so that falling can happen. Any of these ways of
            thinking are
            > anathematic to existentialism. [end]
          • louise
            ... contending ... under ... wording, existence of an ... statement in ... forum, the ... its ... course. [end] Let s see, first of all you say we were
            Message 5 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
              >
              > Louise,

              > You wrote: Surely the Platonic Realism against which Sartre was
              contending
              > does not exhaust the relevant meanings of the term, 'essence'?
              >
              > Response: It most certainly does exhaust the meaning of the term
              under
              > discussion, as we were discussing precisely Sartre. [end]
              >
              > You wrote: I agree with you about the inapposite
              wording, 'existence of an
              > essence', yet in my opinion Joe's questioning of Mary's original
              statement in
              > #43828 is perfectly legitimate.
              >
              > Response: I was defending Mary's claim that, "in an existentialism
              forum, the
              > burden is on you to show 1) that essence precedes existence, and 2)
              its
              > relevance." The second part (the relevance part) is moot, of
              course. [end]

              Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre,
              then you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in
              general. Am I missing something here, or is this not at least
              implying that Sartre is the only permitted authority regarding the
              interpretation of essence/existence? In regard to his own works,
              fair enough, but the original post referred to an existence/essence
              unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so far, sounds to me
              like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should really
              like to understand its provenance. Perhaps that should be a question
              to Mary, except that she already replied to Joe as if he should do
              the work of understanding what she meant.

              Louise
            • eupraxis@aol.com
              Let s see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre, then you quote Mary s response to Joe which invokes existentialism in general. Am I
              Message 6 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
                "Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre, then
                you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in general. Am I
                missing something here, or is this not at least implying that Sartre is the
                only permitted authority regarding the interpretation of essence/existence? 'In
                regard to his own works, fair enough, but the original post referred to an
                existence/essence unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so far, sounds to
                me like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should really like to
                understand its provenance."
                ----
                Response: No, I think you're missing something here. Can you name another
                existentialist author who uses that dyad who is either not referring to Sartre,
                or who is using the dyad in some other novel way? And in any case, whenever
                such a dyad ("existence/essence") is used without any special proviso, wouldn't
                one understand those terms in their usual sense, especially in a philosophical
                list? Finally, can you show me another meaning to these terms that would be
                readily understandable?

                I don't think you would have an easy task with any of that. [end]

                Wil


                In a message dated 3/2/08 5:06:40 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:


                > Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre,
                > then you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in
                > general. Am I missing something here, or is this not at least
                > implying that Sartre is the only permitted authority regarding the
                > interpretation of essence/existence? In regard to his own works,
                > fair enough, but the original post referred to an existence/essence
                > unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so far, sounds to me
                > like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should really
                > like to understand its provenance. Perhaps that should be a question
                > to Mary, except that she already replied to Joe as if he should do
                > the work of understanding what she meant.
                >
                > Louise
                >




                **************
                Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

                (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
                2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • louise
                ... Sartre, then ... general. Am I ... Sartre is the ... essence/existence? In ... referred to an ... far, sounds to ... really like to ... another ...
                Message 7 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
                  >
                  > "Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely
                  Sartre, then
                  > you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in
                  general. Am I
                  > missing something here, or is this not at least implying that
                  Sartre is the
                  > only permitted authority regarding the interpretation of
                  essence/existence? 'In
                  > regard to his own works, fair enough, but the original post
                  referred to an
                  > existence/essence unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so
                  far, sounds to
                  > me like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should
                  really like to
                  > understand its provenance."
                  > ----
                  > Response: No, I think you're missing something here. Can you name
                  another
                  > existentialist author who uses that dyad who is either not
                  referring to Sartre,
                  > or who is using the dyad in some other novel way? And in any case,
                  whenever
                  > such a dyad ("existence/essence") is used without any special
                  proviso, wouldn't
                  > one understand those terms in their usual sense, especially in a
                  philosophical
                  > list? Finally, can you show me another meaning to these terms that
                  would be
                  > readily understandable?
                  >
                  > I don't think you would have an easy task with any of that. [end]
                  >
                  > Wil

                  Wil,

                  I'm finding your response helpful, in determining which of my
                  questions appear to be based on lack of necessary knowledge, such
                  that no useful answers will be forthcoming, and which are worth
                  investigating further. It does look to me at present as though the
                  territory involved would be Platonic Realism and theistic
                  existentialism, if there be any genuine relation between the two
                  which admits of description by means of the dyad.

                  Louise
                • eupraxis@aol.com
                  Louise Most (all actually) of the religiously oriented existential literature that I know, from Kierkegaard through to Ricoeur, conspicuously avoids the
                  Message 8 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
                    Louise

                    Most (all actually) of the religiously oriented existential literature that I
                    know, from Kierkegaard through to Ricoeur, conspicuously avoids the
                    metaphysical analyses one would otherwise expect from a theist; to wit, some proof that
                    God exists. Yet we have sin, fallibility, self-loathing, etc. -- and I am not
                    without my sense of depth -- I have heard the bay of the wolf during the
                    night, have undergone attacks of dread and regret, have lost myself (my Self) in
                    the infinity of nothingness, and the rest of it.

                    Some have applied a kind of reverse Anselmian argument to assuage all of
                    this; they proffer God by means of the overwhelming vacuity of the eternal. If it
                    is that absurd, God must exist. Hence 'Plato' lives on, or has always.

                    But I go another route. The only God (Absolute) for me is (at best) Hegel's,
                    and it is entirely mundane and apparent. One derives no comfort from Hegel,
                    only context. I am probably alone here when I say that Hegel is the first
                    existentialist. But I digress.

                    Lacan tells us that what we most desire is an illusion. He means that
                    reflexively: We want an illusion; and what we think we want is itself illusory.
                    Essences and eternal verities are what we most desire; thus they are necessarily
                    imaginary. It is like Nietzsche's insight that logic is inherently optimistic.
                    From an existentialist point of view, that is a profound idea. Logic may limit
                    thought to rationality, but 'belief' in logic means that one lives in a dream,
                    nevertheless.

                    That is the sense of transcendence that I decry and that Sartre deconstructs.
                    To say that existence precedes essence is to say just this.

                    Wil



                    In a message dated 3/2/08 6:45:45 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:


                    > Wil,
                    >
                    > I'm finding your response helpful, in determining which of my
                    > questions appear to be based on lack of necessary knowledge, such
                    > that no useful answers will be forthcoming, and which are worth
                    > investigating further. It does look to me at present as though the
                    > territory involved would be Platonic Realism and theistic
                    > existentialism, if there be any genuine relation between the two
                    > which admits of description by means of the dyad.
                    >
                    > Louise
                    >




                    **************
                    Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

                    (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
                    2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • louise
                    Wil, Thanks, Louise ... literature that I ... wit, some proof that ... and I am not ... during the ... (my Self) in ... all of ... eternal. If it ... always.
                    Message 9 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
                      Wil,

                      Thanks,

                      Louise

                      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
                      >
                      > Louise
                      >
                      > Most (all actually) of the religiously oriented existential
                      literature that I
                      > know, from Kierkegaard through to Ricoeur, conspicuously avoids the
                      > metaphysical analyses one would otherwise expect from a theist; to
                      wit, some proof that
                      > God exists. Yet we have sin, fallibility, self-loathing, etc. --
                      and I am not
                      > without my sense of depth -- I have heard the bay of the wolf
                      during the
                      > night, have undergone attacks of dread and regret, have lost myself
                      (my Self) in
                      > the infinity of nothingness, and the rest of it.
                      >
                      > Some have applied a kind of reverse Anselmian argument to assuage
                      all of
                      > this; they proffer God by means of the overwhelming vacuity of the
                      eternal. If it
                      > is that absurd, God must exist. Hence 'Plato' lives on, or has
                      always.
                      >
                      > But I go another route. The only God (Absolute) for me is (at best)
                      Hegel's,
                      > and it is entirely mundane and apparent. One derives no comfort
                      from Hegel,
                      > only context. I am probably alone here when I say that Hegel is the
                      first
                      > existentialist. But I digress.
                      >
                      > Lacan tells us that what we most desire is an illusion. He means
                      that
                      > reflexively: We want an illusion; and what we think we want is
                      itself illusory.
                      > Essences and eternal verities are what we most desire; thus they
                      are necessarily
                      > imaginary. It is like Nietzsche's insight that logic is inherently
                      optimistic.
                      > From an existentialist point of view, that is a profound idea.
                      Logic may limit
                      > thought to rationality, but 'belief' in logic means that one lives
                      in a dream,
                      > nevertheless.
                      >
                      > That is the sense of transcendence that I decry and that Sartre
                      deconstructs.
                      > To say that existence precedes essence is to say just this.
                      >
                      > Wil
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > In a message dated 3/2/08 6:45:45 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:
                      >
                      >
                      > > Wil,
                      > >
                      > > I'm finding your response helpful, in determining which of my
                      > > questions appear to be based on lack of necessary knowledge, such
                      > > that no useful answers will be forthcoming, and which are worth
                      > > investigating further. It does look to me at present as though the
                      > > territory involved would be Platonic Realism and theistic
                      > > existentialism, if there be any genuine relation between the two
                      > > which admits of description by means of the dyad.
                      > >
                      > > Louise
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > **************
                      > Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.
                      >
                      > (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-
                      campos-duffy/
                      > 2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    • jimstuart51
                      Wil, I have enjoyed reading your exchange of posts with Louise. I think you both make some good points and you both write with decisiveness and passion. I am
                      Message 10 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
                        Wil,

                        I have enjoyed reading your exchange of posts with Louise. I think you
                        both make some good points and you both write with decisiveness and
                        passion.

                        I am not in complete agreement with what you write about Sartre.

                        My understanding is that Sartre's famous expression "existence
                        precedes essence" was to apply to human beings, and only human beings.
                        He introduced this expression in order to contrast human beings with
                        all other entities in the world.

                        Because human beings have absolute freedom, they cannot have an
                        essence as to have an essence is to lack absolute freedom. I (and
                        other human beings who grasp their freedom) choose how to act, and in
                        this choice I create myself anew at each moment of choice. By
                        contrast, animals, plants, trees, chairs, tables, buildings, etc.,
                        lack choice and in these cases we can justifiably speak of such
                        entities having essences.

                        So, on my reading of Sartre, he does not deny essences in toto, he
                        just denies that free individuals like you or me have essences.

                        In this regard Nietzsche is different to Sartre. Nietzsche did, I
                        think, deny essences across the board, even to scientific entities
                        like gold, lead, water, etc. For Nietzsche, human beings were not
                        essentially different to animals, plants, trees, etc., in that all
                        lacked essences.

                        I don't think an existentialist has to deny essences to scientific
                        entities. I view existentialism as a philosophy concerned with the
                        human being and her choices in an inhospitable, purposeless world. I
                        don't think such a view necessarily excludes a belief in logic, nor a
                        belief that scientific entities have essences.

                        Jim
                      • eupraxis@aol.com
                        Jim, Thanks. No, I think it is clear, and not just from B&N, that Sartre denies any kind of transcendent reality, except for the Imaginary itself. This is
                        Message 11 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
                          Jim,

                          Thanks.

                          No, I think it is clear, and not just from B&N, that Sartre denies any kind
                          of transcendent reality, except for the Imaginary itself. This is fundamental
                          to his phenomenology and his artistic work, in my opinion. However, the
                          consequences of "existence preceding essence", which was meant as a slight on the
                          lingering scholasticism of the Academy, is just as you describe it.

                          By the way, there have been all kinds of stories about Sartre's supposed
                          conversion to religion during his decline. They are nonsense, and I know that by
                          the best anecdotal evidence available to me: to wit, I know someone, a great
                          friend and mentor, who was in that loop. To the end, Sartre was a committed
                          atheist.

                          Wil

                          In a message dated 3/3/08 7:05:17 AM, jjimstuart1@... writes:


                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Wil,
                          >
                          > I have enjoyed reading your exchange of posts with Louise. I think you
                          > both make some good points and you both write with decisiveness and
                          > passion.
                          >
                          > I am not in complete agreement with what you write about Sartre.
                          >
                          > My understanding is that Sartre's famous expression "existence
                          > precedes essence" was to apply to human beings, and only human beings.
                          > He introduced this expression in order to contrast human beings with
                          > all other entities in the world.
                          >
                          > Because human beings have absolute freedom, they cannot have an
                          > essence as to have an essence is to lack absolute freedom. I (and
                          > other human beings who grasp their freedom) choose how to act, and in
                          > this choice I create myself anew at each moment of choice. By
                          > contrast, animals, plants, trees, chairs, tables, buildings, etc.,
                          > lack choice and in these cases we can justifiably speak of such
                          > entities having essences.
                          >
                          > So, on my reading of Sartre, he does not deny essences in toto, he
                          > just denies that free individuals like you or me have essences.
                          >
                          > In this regard Nietzsche is different to Sartre. Nietzsche did, I
                          > think, deny essences across the board, even to scientific entities
                          > like gold, lead, water, etc. For Nietzsche, human beings were not
                          > essentially different to animals, plants, trees, etc., in that all
                          > lacked essences.
                          >
                          > I don't think an existentialist has to deny essences to scientific
                          > entities. I view existentialism as a philosophy concerned with the
                          > human being and her choices in an inhospitable, purposeless world. I
                          > don't think such a view necessarily excludes a belief in logic, nor a
                          > belief that scientific entities have essences.
                          >
                          > Jim
                          >
                          >
                          >




                          **************
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                          (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
                          2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • mary.jo11
                          Although uncomfortable with notions of orthodoxy, I accept this one. The other is nothingness, since it also binds and liberates existential thought. Legal
                          Message 12 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
                            Although uncomfortable with notions of orthodoxy, I accept this one.
                            The other is nothingness, since it also binds and liberates
                            existential thought. Legal definitions of when life begins and ends
                            are less relevant to the existentialist than personal situation. Mary

                            eupraxis@... wrote:

                            To the end, Sartre was a committed atheist.
                          • Exist List Moderator
                            ... Not my lexicon, in general. It is a recovery of The New Dictionary of Existentialism, a text from the late 1960s. I have expanded some entries and continue
                            Message 13 of 26 , Mar 5, 2008
                              On Mar 02, 2008, at 14:13, eupraxis@... wrote:

                              > I haven't looked at CS's lexicon, and I will leave aside any remarks
                              > that
                              > interpret Hegel as an otherworldly theorist for now (no, thank me
                              > later).


                              Not my lexicon, in general. It is a recovery of The New Dictionary of
                              Existentialism, a text from the late 1960s. I have expanded some
                              entries and continue to do so with quotes directly from the thinkers
                              profiled so as to avoid any notion that the definitions are mine or
                              any other "expert's" because it is always best to let the author
                              define his or her own terms.

                              I also note that the same terms were often used in different ways, to
                              different ends, by the authors.

                              Also... I never read anywhere that someone suggested Sartre renounced
                              atheism. That was a curious mention on the list that I skimmed. Wil is
                              definitely correct on this matter, based on the contacts I have had
                              with historians and biographers. I cannot imagine Sartre as anything
                              other than an atheist... just as I can't imagine him ever humble. I
                              would cite "Adieux" as my primary source for Sartre's finals days.

                              - C. S. Wyatt
                              I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                              that I shall be.
                              http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                              http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                            • bhvwd
                              ... remarks ... me ... of ... thinkers ... or ... to ... renounced ... is ... had ... anything ... I ... all ... year they appear and youn have seen what you
                              Message 14 of 26 , Mar 5, 2008
                                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator
                                <existlist1@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > On Mar 02, 2008, at 14:13, eupraxis@... wrote:
                                >
                                > > I haven't looked at CS's lexicon, and I will leave aside any
                                remarks
                                > > that
                                > > interpret Hegel as an otherworldly theorist for now (no, thank
                                me
                                > > later).
                                >
                                >
                                > Not my lexicon, in general. It is a recovery of The New Dictionary
                                of
                                > Existentialism, a text from the late 1960s. I have expanded some
                                > entries and continue to do so with quotes directly from the
                                thinkers
                                > profiled so as to avoid any notion that the definitions are mine
                                or
                                > any other "expert's" because it is always best to let the author
                                > define his or her own terms.
                                >
                                > I also note that the same terms were often used in different ways,
                                to
                                > different ends, by the authors.
                                >
                                > Also... I never read anywhere that someone suggested Sartre
                                renounced
                                > atheism. That was a curious mention on the list that I skimmed. Wil
                                is
                                > definitely correct on this matter, based on the contacts I have
                                had
                                > with historians and biographers. I cannot imagine Sartre as
                                anything
                                > other than an atheist... just as I can't imagine him ever humble.
                                I
                                > would cite "Adieux" as my primary source for Sartre's finals days.
                                >
                                > - C. S. Wyatt
                                > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not
                                all
                                > that I shall be.
                                > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                                > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                                >I would go througe the ancient broyhers of the north. In a cold
                                year they appear and youn have seen what you as yet do not recognise.
                                Will they keep you ? This place has its merits if you can fite ice,
                                Bill
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