Howdy y'all - I was told my inquisition into Being was metaphysical rather than ontological and to skip to the conclusion of Being and Nothingness where Sartre briefly elucidates on some metaphysical questions. I'm not sure if I'm completely tripping myself up, if I'm really understanding him, or if I'm off base. I'm going to post quotes here and I ask for help in explanation because I think it is relevant to my original post. Page numbers are from the Barnes translation.
Sartre, page 788-789 wrote:
It is only by making itself for-itself that being can aspire to be the cause of itself. Conciousness as the nihilation of being appears therefore as one stage in a progression toward the immanence of causuality -i.e., toward being a self-cause. The progression, however, stops there as the result o the insufficiency of being in the for-itself. The temporalization of consciousness is not an ascending progress toward the dignity of the causa sui; it is a surface run off whose origin is, on the contrary, the impossibility of being a self-cause.
Thus ontology teaches us two things: (1) If the in-itself were to found itself, it could attempt to do so only by making itself consciousness; that is, the concept of causa sui includes within it that of presence to self - i.e., the nihilating decompression of being; (2) ...
These two quotes appear to touch on conclusions I have already made.I don't think Sartre is claiming these to be true
but simply playing with the ideas. I don't quite understand the second point too well, it is long to type out but maybe someone could help me with it?
Sartre, page 789-790 wrote:
Ontology here comes up against a profound contradiction since it is through the for-itself that the possibility of a foundation comes to the world. In order to be a project of founding itself, the in-itself would of necessity have to be originally a presence to itself - i.e., it would have to be already consciousness. Ontology will therefore limit it-self to declaring that everything takes place as if the in-itself in a project to found itself gave itself the modification of the for-itself.
want a concrete understanding of the part I have bolded here. Again, is this Sartre's conclusion or an idea he is playing with?
Sartre, page 790 wrote:
This unification [of the in-itself and for-itself] naturally must not be constituted in the perspective of an historical becoming since temporality comes into being through the for-itself. There would be therefore no sense in asking what being was before the appearance of the for-itself. ... the task belongs to the metaphysician of deciding whether the movement is or is not a first "attempt" on the part of the in-itself to found itself and to determine what are the relations of motion as a "malady of being" with the for-itself as a more profound malady pushed to nihilation.
if consciousness is bound to the in-itself by an internal relation, doesn't this mean that it is articulated with the in-itself so as to constitute a totality, and is it not this totality which would be giving the name being or reality?
Here I want to ask which metaphysicians have taken this task and what books I should read. Furthermore, the bolded section seems awfully close to Sartre saying that there exists no Being outside of the Being that consciousness reveals.
but he then goes on to pose this question:
Sartre, page 791 wrote:
To which shall we call real ... To the pure in-itself or to the in-itself surrounded by that shell of nothingness which we have designated by the name of the for-itself?
To which it seems he is again at the very least saying there is a serious consideration to be had that there is no "pure" in-itself outside of the for-itself.
Sartre, page 791 wrote:
...the in-itself has no need of the for-itself in order to be; the "passion of the for-itself only causes there to be in-itself, the phenomenon of in-itself is an abstraction without consciousness but its being is not an abstraction.
Here what is the difference between the phenomenon of in-itself and the being of in-itself?
And finally what I am most curious about:
Sartre, page 794 wrote:
But if we can not "adopt a point of view on the totality," this is because the Other on principle denies that he is I as I deny that I am he. It is the reciprocity of the relation which prevents me from ever grasping it in its integrity. In the case of the internal negation for-itself-in-itself, on the contrary, the relation is not reciprocal, and I am both one of the terms of the relation and the relation itself. I apprehend being, I am the apprehension of being, I am only an apprehension of being. And the being which I apprehend is not posited against me so as to apprehend me in turn; it is what is apprehended. Its being simply does not coincide in any way with the question of totality. To be sure, I exist here as engaged in this totality, but I can be an exhaustive consciousness of it since I am at once consciousness of the being and self-consciousness.
I am curious if this is sartre's metaphysical conclusions or again simply a path of thought he starts. Furthermore, I think I am still blurry on his non-reciprocal case. What are some thoughts on the final bolded sentence? Was this conception of totality expanded on by anyone?
I know it's bad of me to skip and I already regret it - I will certainly be returning to my original spot to keep reading.