Truth and Existence
Overview - At long last, Truth and Existence allows us to read Jean-Paul Sartre's analysis of knowing and truth. This brilliant epistemological sequel to Being and Nothingness was found among Sartre's unpublished manuscripts by his adoptive daughter and executor, Arlette Elkaim-Sartre. Read more...
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More About Truth and Existence by Jean-Paul Sartre
At long last, Truth and Existence allows us to read Jean-Paul Sartre's analysis of knowing and truth. This brilliant epistemological sequel to Being and Nothingness was found among Sartre's unpublished manuscripts by his adoptive daughter and executor, Arlette Elkaim-Sartre. Posthumously published in France in 1989, the work dates to 1948, shortly after Sartre's controversial call for the writer's political commitment and his celebrated public lecture "Existentialism Is a Humanism". Truth and Existence, written in response to Martin Heidegger's The Essence of Truth, is a product of the years when Sartre was reaching full stature as a philosopher, novelist, playwright, essayist, and political activist. This brief, coherent, and engaging text presents Sartre's ontology of truth in terms of his characteristic key moral questions of freedom, action, and bad faith. While stressing the intuitive and personal dimensions of truth, Truth and Existence also explores the argument that ignoring is an intentional act starting, like all knowledge, from the primary ontological condition of ignorance. Thus, at the heart of Sartre's discussion are explanations of ignorance (as resulting from the choice to ignore), phenomenological descriptions (of behavior seeking to avoid the truth), and the reasons why one chooses to avoid the truth. Sartre explores why one Madame T., afflicted with tuberculosis, should choose to ignore the disease that is killing her rather than take responsibility for it. Here is Sartre the existentialist at his most original and most provocative: this work of epistemology, based on ontology, becomes a work of ethics. At the same time, Truth and Existence foreshadows and lays thebasis for some of the most important insights of the Critique of Dialectical Reason. Truth and Existence is introduced by an extended biographical, historical, and analytical essay by Ronald Aronson.