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Re: Relevance of NDEs to Existentialism

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  • 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 1 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
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      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 2 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
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        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 3 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
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          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 4 of 26 , Mar 5, 2008
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            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 5 of 26 , Mar 5, 2008
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              --- 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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