Sunday, May 10, 2009

73a Jean-Paul Sartre

When I was 18 I began to read Sartre. "Les chemins de la liberté" (Road of freedom), three volumes. I still remember so well and it is 40 years ago. And then there was "La Nausée" (The loathing).

Now I try to remember how I got to Sartre then. I can't. I do't remember who or what pointed me at him. I only remember that he was my philosopher, the man who understood me. That never changed and yet things changed. I got educated..:-)

I mean, when we talk about philosophy we dont talk about one monolithic thing. It is like a bunch of colorful flowers. The time is over, that you try to create one big philosophical theory or system, which can explain everything.

On the one hand we live in a world of science, which implies the need of a theoretical justification in terms of epistemology, but on the otherhand we are also still that human being: you stand in the middle of the savannah.

Maybe the first time you are upright on two legs and you look around. Then you are overwhelmed by that question: This is me? Who am I ...what am I doing here? And from that moment on there isn't any escape from the question after the meaning of life.

I have lectured now on more than 70 philosophers and how much closer did we get to an answer?

I think we have to make a distiction between the question "What can I know?" and here we have logic, epistemology and philosophy of science and the question "What is the meaning of all this?" and then we have the debate on ontology like it started with Heidegger.

For the first time in my life after last class I could understand how Heidegger fought with language to get closer to the answer on the later question. In that Sartre was more successful.

Sartre's philosophical culture appears to have been formed almost entirely within the tradition of Continental rationalism and idealism. That is, the line of thinkers that leads from Descartes to Kant and then from Hegel to the phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger.

Allusions to philosophers outside this tradition are rare in Sartre's writings and generally he seems not to regard empiricism or positivism. and certainly not materialism, as serious philosophical alternatives.

As for the physical sciences and mathematics, these find only passing and perfunctory mention in his writings and clearly had no influence on his thought.

When you think back of that human being overlooking the savannah, he can look at himself in two ways. He can look at his hands and the tools he makes and he can develop physical theories on how to make the best tools. His theories about matter.

And he can look at the horizon, wondering, where to go, why to go? His theories on his tools won't give him the answer. He has to answer these questions himself.

That is, as I understand now, what Heidegger tried in "Sein und Zeit" (Time and Being) and what Sartre did in a more understandable way in his "L'Etre et le Néant".

The Discussion

[13:25] Herman Bergson: So lecture will dig into the philosophy of Sartre
[13:26] itsme Frederix: Herman seems like a confession, you finally can walk up with Heidegger
[13:27] Herman Bergson: Well Itsme...that might be too much....but I think I got some more understanding of Heidegger
[13:27] itsme Frederix: Holzwege Herman
[13:27] Herman Bergson:
[13:27] Mickorod Renard: english?
[13:28] Herman Bergson: just a joke Mickorod..:-)
[13:28] Mickorod Renard: ok
[13:28] Herman Bergson: Itsme understands
[13:28] itsme Frederix: You are right about Sartre and being young (he was extremely attractive)
[13:28] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: was german or dutch
[13:28] Herman Bergson: Hlozwege is a title of a work of Heidegger..
[13:28] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: ok
[13:29] itsme Frederix: Holzwegen are just paths in the wood leading to nothing but used to get the wood
[13:29] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: Heidegger was german. smile
[13:29] Laila Schuman: i can still remember how disturbing it was to read sartre and camus for the first time... it hit hard... what i find is interesting is that their presentations (in novels) lead you... throught experiences and emotions... to wherever you end up (each person is probably ending up in a slightly different place)... rather than the usual "philosophical" kind of approach that most of the previous philosophers have had... (except nietzsche, of course)... to me, they are using art as their vehicle for communication... rather than logig
[13:29] Gudrun Odriscoll: not so much in a physical sense, he looked like a frog, sorry. and I never understood why he taunted de Beauvoir with all the female admirers, though they had such an open and intellectual relationship
[13:29] Laila Schuman: logic
[13:30] Mickorod Renard: it was a very open relationship it seems
[13:30] itsme Frederix: If read Sarte (specially Les Mots) it is overwellming - he is very charming
[13:31] Gudrun Odriscoll: sorry herman, a bit of gossiping
[13:31] Herman Bergson: personal relationships arent a philosophical issue here
[13:31] Gudrun Odriscoll: herman, I was just joking about itsme's attractive
[13:31] itsme Frederix: attractive to read I ment
[13:31] Laila Schuman: i find that approach new... or am i wrong
[13:31] Herman Bergson: My introduction to Sartre doesnt offer much gunpowder to debate..that is ok
[13:31] Gudrun Odriscoll: I know, itsm
[13:32] itsme Frederix: his novels, his plays his annecdotes and even his philosophy is very visual
[13:32] Herman Bergson: Well...
[13:32] itsme Frederix: did you know his funaral was one of the biggest in Paris
[13:32] Mickorod Renard: he even drew on greek tragedy in les mots
[13:32] Herman Bergson: the piont I want to make here that you have two ways of appraoching philosophical questions
[13:33] Mickorod Renard: yes?
[13:33] itsme Frederix: he was very engaged to, not only communisme (who wasn't those years) but also visited the RAF in prison
[13:33] Cailleach Shan: My introduction to Satre was through YouTube!!
[13:33] Herman Bergson: And in Sartre you see this very clearly
[13:33] itsme Frederix: he lived his philosophy!
[13:33] Herman Bergson: he has no affinity with science at all
[13:34] Herman Bergson: while in the Anglo-American tradition philosphy is closely related to science...
[13:34] itsme Frederix: well in the ancient times stories and pilosophy also were less scientific
[13:35] Herman Bergson: that 's not what I am talking about Itsme
[13:35] Herman Bergson: here we see the clear difference between Continental and Anglo-american philosophy
[13:36] Mickorod Renard: but herman do you think that divide is still necessary today?
[13:36] itsme Frederix: sure not behind a desk but in the pub in the middle of life
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:36] Herman Bergson: Continental philosophy is much concerned about ontological and metaphysical questiosns
[13:37] Mickorod Renard: do you think the divide is still relevant today?
[13:37] Herman Bergson: it is not necessary at all is just a fact
[13:37] Gudrun Odriscoll: I agree with herman, there are some exceptions though
[13:37] Herman Bergson: there always are Gudrun..:-)
[13:38] Herman Bergson: but there are some interesting observations
[13:38] Mickorod Renard: the broader spectrum of approach should provide a greater or better philosophical result i think
[13:38] Herman Bergson: these continental philosophers witnessed WW1
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: ah
[13:38] Mickorod Renard: a holistic approach
[13:39] Herman Bergson: one of the most absurd ways of dealing with human lifes
[13:39] Gemma Cleanslate: that is such a telling point
[13:39] Herman Bergson: carnage
[13:39] Laila Schuman: dada
[13:39] Gemma Cleanslate: we here do not reeally ever experience war since the civil war
[13:39] Herman Bergson: 30.000 people killed in one day
[13:39] Herman Bergson: was almost routine
[13:39] Herman Bergson: Husserl lost his son Wolfgang
[13:40] itsme Frederix: Sarte survived
[13:40] Gudrun Odriscoll: itsme, lol
[13:40] Mickorod Renard: do you mean WW1 raised questions on the meaning of life for Sartre?
[13:40] Herman Bergson: Sartre was captured in WW2 Itme..:-)
[13:40] Herman Bergson: It must have Mickorodd...
[13:41] Osrum Sands: there has been about 2500 people died while we have sat here
[13:41] Osrum Sands: so what
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: antiquated tactics with modern technoloigal weapons, evolution out of whack
[13:41] Herman Bergson: Such massacres...what is the meaning of life there?
[13:41] Mickorod Renard: exactly
[13:41] Gemma Cleanslate: so what??????
[13:41] Laila Schuman: dada
[13:41] Gemma Cleanslate: so what?????
[13:42] Cailleach Shan: There is no meaning to that. I's simply what's happening.
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: 68000 in china????
[13:42] Mickorod Renard: when we are 'comfortably numb' we do not ask as many questions about the meaning of life and people tend to be more egoistical
[13:42] Osrum Sands: life goes on despite what we do or think about it
[13:42] Herman Bergson: No Osrum....there is a difference between natural disasters and the disasters we are creating willfully
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: with man becomeing mere pawns
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: eys
[13:42] Gudrun Odriscoll: god is dead, when such massacres are happening,therefore nihilism or existentialism
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: big difference
[13:42] itsme Frederix: what is the meaning of A life - that was the primairy question for most of them
[13:42] Osrum Sands: what is natural about greed
[13:42] Osrum Sands: or the unequal distribution of the worlds resources
[13:42] Mickorod Renard: every life of each individual is precious
[13:42] hope63 Shepherd: gemma.. in ww1 tghe individual was sent to the slaughterhouse. and went..( in china they didn't )
[13:42] Ishtar Ihnen is Online
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: oh yes i know
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: terrible
[13:43] Osrum Sands: Why Mick
[13:43] Mickorod Renard: why not Osrum?
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: i have read many histories of ww1
[13:43] itsme Frederix: Mick I guess in those circumstance your own life is very close - and life as idea anotherthing
[13:43] Mickorod Renard: is your life not precious?
[13:43] Osrum Sands: in one sence No but in another way yes
[13:43] Laila Schuman: wilfred owen
[13:43] Osrum Sands: its all about perspective
[13:43] hope63 Shepherd: question is: is it more precious than another life mick..
[13:44] Mickorod Renard: wilfred owen wrote brilliant WW1 poetry
[13:44] Mickorod Renard: hope ... each life is equally precious
[13:44] Mickorod Renard: soz herman
[13:45] Herman Bergson: some people dont seem to understand what I mean
[13:45] Herman Bergson: Well...I think we hit a nerve, when you look at the discussion
[13:46] Herman Bergson: So I invite you to the next lecture where we can dig deeper into Sartre's philosophy..:-)
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: good idea
[13:46] Herman Bergson: Class dismissed..(^_^)
[13:46] Alarice Beaumont: looking forward to that!
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you, Herman
[13:47] birtan Barak: hello frıens hello teacher
[13:47] Samuel Okelly: thanks herman
[13:47] Mickorod Renard: thnak you for another interesting lectutre herman
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:47] Herman Bergson: hello Birtan
[13:47] birtan Barak: hello
[13:47] birtan Barak: everybnody
[13:47] Gudrun Odriscoll: okay, thanks herman, look forward to next time
[13:47] Gudrun Odriscoll: bye everybody
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Gudrun
[13:48] Laila Schuman: i feel that it is important that these men wrote their philosophy using art instead of prose... IMPORTANT
[13:48] Herman Bergson: I wanted to keep my gunpowder dry for a next lecture..:-)
[13:48] 4321 Arado: Herman thanks for the lecture
[13:48] Alarice Beaumont: lol
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: I agree Laila
[13:48] 4321 Arado: i've got to go now
[13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: see you Sunday i hope
[13:48] Osrum Sands: Is art just another language
[13:48] Herman Bergson: you are welcome 4321
[13:48] Osrum Sands: re last class
[13:48] birtan Barak: whats do you about?
[13:48] 4321 Arado: i hope to attend the next meeting
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: I think it is OS
[13:48] birtan Barak: this class
[13:48] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: yes, thanks, I think 45 minutes are too short.

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-06-01 07:59:51

No comments:

Post a Comment