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Being and Existence

  1. Jul 18, 2008 #1
    From this site:

    we read:
    What is Being? What is Nothingness? How are they related? For Sartre, Being is objective, it is what is. Being is in-itself. Existence, on the other hand, has a subjective quality in relation to human reality. Existence refers to the fact that some individual or thing is present in the world.

    But...(here I assume the site is correct about Sartre)...what does Sartre gain by holding on to 'being' since he also rejects, in the introduction to Being and Nothingness, Kant’s concept of noumenon ? So my question, what the difference between the "in-itself" of Sartre "being" and the "in-itself" of Kant noumenon ? If no difference, is philosophy of Sartre then falsified ?

    Finally, for Descarte and his "I think therefore I am", is the "I am" of Descarte the "being" or the "existence" of Sartre (or both or neither?) ?

    Any thought on either of these two questions is appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2008 #2
    Hi Rade,

    I would think that, in the "I am" of Descartes, the "I" is existence, as it is existence that is the noun (and is reflexive, in a sense, on the subject using it) and the "am" is Being, as 'am' is the first-person singular of 'to be'. It is 'existence' that 'is', to Sartre. So, whether it is Descartes or you or I (or God) who says "I am", it's another way of saying 'existence is' in reference to oneself.
    Sartre does seem a little confused (or, at least, confusing), but then, he's not here to speak up for himself. I suppose he's saying that existence is a quality that something must have in order to 'be', which is why he feels it is subjective to the thing that 'is'. Whilst 'being' is the state of existing, which is objective with respect to everything that exists. But, of course, this begs the question "What is it that exists?" I would say 'energy', as it is neither created nor destroyed. And I can think of nothing that exists that is not comprised wholly of energy in some form or another (and, in most cases, a mixture).
  4. Jul 21, 2008 #3
    i dont see how being isnt existing.
  5. Jul 22, 2008 #4
    To be or not to be, that is the question. It is a matter of self-preservation above all else. Do you value knowledge because you may do something with it or do you value knowledge because with it you may become something?
  6. Jul 22, 2008 #5
    Agreed. That's why I said Sartre appears either confused or confusing.
  7. Jul 23, 2008 #6
    i'd say i value knowledge because i might do something with it one day. who is Sartre?
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