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Guide Being, Relation, and the Re-worlding of Intentionality

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Heidegger's formula, the "essence" of Dasein is its "existence," made it indeed appear as if Sartre and Heidegger were pursuing a shared program, an impression strengthened by Sartre's own. Sartre's later turn to Marx constitutes a repudiation of this earlier existentialist affiliation with Heidegger's work. In this concluding section, I will suggest that the Sartre of The Critique of Dialectical Reason is much closer to the Heidegger of Being and Time than one might first imagine.

The Critique of Dialectical Reason involves themes that occupy an increasingly central position in today's philosophical discussions. It is less the existentialist Heidegger that preoccupies our attention today. Rather it is the Heidegger whose analyses of social, institutional and pragmatic structures now makes it possible for us to begin to grapple with the important implications of Sartre's later thought.

In Search for a Method , Sartre identifies a new reading of the relationship between being-in-itself and being-for-itself. The project, as the subjective surpassing of objectivity toward objectivity, and stretched between the objective conditions of the environment and the objective structure of the field of possibles, represents in itself the moving unity of subjectivity and objectivity, those cardinal components of activity The view of human agency as the externalization of an "objectified subject" is clearly adopted from the Marx of the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts.

It is also a dramatically different formula from that expressing the human subject as a nihilating transcendence of being-in-itself. We must now grasp the human subject in its historically determined situation as a radically embedded spontaneity that is interfused with its world in its self-projection, an embedded spontaneity whose objectification understood as " It is clearly beyond the scope of this paper to treat the various nuances in Sartre's writings on the "objectified subjective," spanning, as they do, recently published materials as well as major late works such as Search for a Method , The Critique of Dialectical Reason and the multi-volume work on Flaubert, The Family Idiot.

However, an insightful and compelling path into Sartre's later thought is provided by an example that Sartre himself offered in , 25 an example that supplements our age's almost obsessive preoccupation with language. Today people fall into the opposite error. They would have us believe that thought is only language, as if language itself were not spoken.


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In reality, there are two levels. On the first level, language presents itself, in effect, as an autonomous system, which reflects social unification.

Real Hallucinations

The linguist takes this totality of relations as an object of study, and he has a right to do this because it is already constituted. This is the stage of structure, in which the totality appears as a thing without man But this thing without man is at the same time matter worked by man, bearing the trace of man If you admit the existence of such a system, you must also admit that language exists only as spoken, in other words in act.

Each element of the system refers to a whole, but this whole is dead if nobody takes it up for his own purposes, makes it work. Peter Caws writes that " For the moment, I will suggest that Sartre's various comments on spoken language, today largely unappreciated, yield valuable insights into the meaning and significance of the "practico-inert. The hegemony of Chomsky's form of linguistics and its emphasis upon the formal aspects of the grammars of natural languages stops short, in Chomsky's own words, before the mystery of the creative use of language.

Even before Chomsky, the philosophical writings of Frege, Russell, the early Wittgenstein and Davidson focused upon language as a formal, logical system.

Being a body and having a body. The twofold temporality of embodied intentionality

However, we are beginning to see the collapse of the hegemony of the formalization of written language versus the centrality of speech. Sartre would certainly agree, not only that language is a material object, but that it also has a history and that speech has its historical embeddedness. As dimensions of the practico-inert, language and culture clearly pre-exist the speaking individual. By infusing this pre-existent universe with the individual's own purposive action and creativity, the Sartrean subject achieves an objectification that, no sooner than it is achieved, reintroduces the subject into the material flow of human purpose, action and intersubjectivity.


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  • The subject inhabits language without being exhausted by it. Sartre's discursive task is to maintain a perilous balance between the subject's dynamics of transcendence and the world of the ready-made that constitutes the individual's historical embodiment.

    Intentionality | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    The notion of the practico-inert signifies a unity of the subject and the subject's world that can never be collapsed into an inert totality or identity. They carry the projects of the Other into me and they carry my projects into the Other.

    Intentionality

    But this materiality is also a constantly developing organic totalisation But this incommunicability - in so far as it exists- can have meaning only in terms of a more fundamental communication , that is to say, when based on mutual recognition and on a permanent project to communicate [ How distant is this from the Sartre of the Transcendence of the Ego and its radicalization of Husserlian intentionality? What persists is the dialectical relationship of the inseparable moments of an indissoluble relationship.

    What has changed is the introduction of a third medium that now embeds the for-itself-in-itself opposition. This medium makes me available to the other in the sense of the omnipresence and priority of an intersubjective community. It is by virtue of our intersubjective praxis that we at present inhabit our future together and redeem our past. Exhibiting the kinds of thinking that will remain through the Critique , Sartre urges that such reciprocity War Diaries , p. This would be the locus of historical facticity. Besides the respective fact that each happens to be talking, there is the mutuality that we call the conversation itself that exists beyond the being-for-itself of each participant, though not independent of the individuals involved.

    Sartre alludes to two aspects of language that are of increasing interest in present discussions of language. Spoken language, involving the speakers' co-presence and interaction, "define a property that can be called situatedness - the closeness language has to the immediate physical and social situation in which it is produced and received. The nature of conversational language and conversational consciousness is dependent on their situatedness.

    At this point, Sartre's thought in the Critique comes closer to Husserl's and Merleau-Ponty's reflections on the encompassing structures of intersubjectivity in the experience of the world. On the contrary, all individual existence and individual life is thoroughly informed by a unity of existence, grounded, to be sure, in individual lives, but a unity penetrating and transcending the private worlds of individuals Although Husserl goes on to make reference to "forms of life, work and cultural configurations" and their corresponding "norms," his analyses are composed of largely unfinished projects.

    I have elsewhere referred to these and other aspects of Husserl's views of intersubjectivity and the relevance of perceptual, embodied experience to the understanding of language as "envoiced subjectivity. The concept of the envoiced subject involves two dimensions. The first is the general framework of the embodied, experiencing subject designated by Husserl as structures of the lifeworld. In part, these structures involve aspects of kinethestic processes, horizon consciousness and the communalization of experience. The first refers to the fact that even perceptual consciousness is a matter of an embodied "I do" and "I move" belonging to what Husserl terms the "living body.

    Within the framework of the lifeworld, envoiced subjectivity is understood as reflecting these and related structures. For example, in the Phenomenology of Perception Merleau-Ponty has focused upon the expressive dimension of the body and speech. His notion of "emotional expressiveness" encompasses both aspects and leads Merleau-Ponty to speak of the function of words as ways not of simply "representing" the world, but of "singing" the world by extracting the emotional essence of things.

    Spoken language here has a distinctive priority. Related to such claims is the possibility that speech contains meanings that are directly perceived rather than cognitively "inferred. The Phenomenology of Perception also emphasizes the phonological materiality of spoken language, a dimension of language not discussed by Husserl.

    A Real World Reality Check Needed Though Rarely Experienced Among The Elite Leftists of Academia

    Merleau-Ponty argues that there is a level of meaning directly given in the sounds of words and in the interplay between the words of a given language. Words may have representational content, but they also have an "immanent," "gestural" and "affective" meaning by virtue of the irreducible ways in which a single word is related to all the other words of the language.

    Further more, perceptual experience and its corresponding structures embodiment, contingency and its open-ended nature also serve as the basis for moral, cultural and political phenomena. These features, which are also aspects of spoken language, afford the basis for a generalization of perception and perceptual meaning to the full range of human praxis. The concept of the envoiced subject can also include features not touched upon by either Husserl or Merleau-Ponty. Such features bear upon the relationship of the syntactical structure of natural languages to deeper-laying structures of language and cognition that are more reflective of lifeworld features than is possible within the framework of, for example, a Chomskian view of syntax.

    The fact that one can experience oneself as a material body in the world, that is not only visible to or within physical reach of oneself, but most of all for others , could also be interpreted as the presupposition of explicit empathy. This is because we know first-hand that externally perceived material bodies like us can have an interior, i. In a sense, one could say that the distance we have towards ourselves makes room for the other, i. Therefore, while there is already a pre-reflective self-awareness and intersubjectivity intercorporeality at the level of being a body, the fact that we also have a body may be interpreted as the source of an explicit self-consciousness, as well as, possibility of an explicit form of empathy.

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    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences pp 1—23 Cite as. Being a body and having a body. The twofold temporality of embodied intentionality. Open Access. First Online: 07 February Al Saji, A. Continental Philosophy Review, 43 , 13— Google Scholar.

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