It’s About That Time: Sartre’s Theory of Temporality

In Matthew Eshleman & Constance L. Mui (eds.), The Sartrean Mind. New York: Routledge. pp. 198–211 (2019)
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Abstract

This chapter argues that J. P. Sartre has overlooked two motivations in developing his theory of temporality: first, to found the method of phenomenological ontology; and, second, to show that human freedom, pace I. Kant, must be situated within the empirical world. Sartre argues that consciousness is nothingness’s origin by having the ontological characteristic of being “its own nothingness”. Sartre begins his account by noting that temporality is “an organized structure” such that the three temporal dimensions—past, present, and future—are not externally related but rather internally or synthetically related to one another. Sartre then uses phenomenological description to elucidate the past’s true ontological status. Sartre seeks an account according to which time’s successive moments are not only separable but also unified in some way, i.e. have “a form of synthesis”. Sartre clarifies that it is one and the same phenomenon both for a present to change into the past and for a new present to arise.

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Curtis Sommerlatte
Indiana University, Bloomington (PhD)

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Poincaré, Sartre, Continuity and Temporality.Jonathan Gingerich - 2006 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 37 (3):327-330.

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