Gamma on Sartre

While Alpha is in Japan this week, Gamma gets to sleep in the big bed and kick the covers off all night. Last night, I read her a story and turned on the lava lamp as a sort of nightlight for her and tucked her in and she said, “Sartre’s slogan derives from a sentence in Heidegger’s Being and Time: ‘Das Wesen des Daseins liegt in seiner Existenz,’ which Macquarrie and Robinson translate, ‘The “essence” of Dasein lies in its existence’. In 1946 Heidegger maintained that Sartre had totally misunderstood the meaning of the claim, but certainly some of what Sartre develops from it can be found in Heidegger too. For the latter, the question of existence is not first of all a philosophical one but rather the question raised by any human being: ‘Who am I?’ The fact that we raise such a question is not, for Heidegger, an accidental feature of our psychology but a essential feature of our being: I am such that ‘in [my] very being that being is an issue for [me]‘. A philosophical inquiry into existence, then, is a kind of meta-inquiry into ‘that which one inquires into when one asks the question “Who?”‘ This, in turn, leads him to distinguish sharply between ‘categories’ and ‘existentialia’

5 responses to “Gamma on Sartre

  1. telling her the wide range of categories into which she fits might be of some comfort to her. it might also lull her to such a sound sleep that she forgets to steal the covers.

  2. Charming. Gamma is a little young for EDD (great!), the teenager’s principal affliction, but at least she’s not too old to talk to you about it.

  3. mig

    It’s my window of opportunity. She’s quite the teen already, but still little in that way, the still talking way.

  4. My kids always busted my brain at that age too….Game makes me think that the really great Existentialists were all really eight years old when they got to thinking about the meaning of existence.

  5. She knows that she’s a very special girl, right?
    When I got all existential like that as a kid, my grandfather would assign little projects to help define not so much who or what I was but what I was going to do with all of that. [Actually the projects were more like meta-Catechism, prepping me for a messianic type future; they might have been more helpful as surveys than directives. Either way, a sense of purpose can be handy.]