Research Essay

Research Essay

Second PHI1GPI Essay – Question Two
Humanity knows of nothing. And according to Jean-Paul Sartre this is what makes humanity unique. In his Being and Nothingness Sartre explores this uniqueness through a series of exercises that, he hopes, will bring forward new ideas of our existence and the meaning of nothingness. His chapter on ‘The origin of negation’ explores the existence of the non-being, a concept that he explains is unique to the human condition. In comparing the natural world with the human; we see that Sartre’s argument can make a clear distinction between the two, presenting a convincing argument that places humanity above anything else in this world. Sartre uses allegories to make a case
Humanity is unique in that we ask questions and have expectations of answers. Even the most seemingly simple of questions such as ‘what is that?’ is the sign of a higher level of thinking than had ever occurred before humanity. It is our questioning and expectation, according to Sartre, is our link between our being and non-being. Sartre starts off by stating the everyday experience “does not seem to reveal non-being to us” (Sartre, p.5), that if we take the world on face value non-being shall never be shown. Yet, he goes on to explore how our questioning of the world acknowledges that the world is made up of is and is nots. That objects have perceived essence and qualities, that is; a tree is a tree and is not a car because it shares simular qualities with other trees. When we question and expect an answer, we are forcing anything that is not that within that essence of expectation into the realm of non-being. Using his money analogy, Sartre shows the negation of being in the pre-judgment phase of a question or expectation. Before making a judgement on how much money is in his pocket, Sartre must first make the pre-judgement expectation that money is in-fact in his pocket. This pre-judgement has forced the infinite other possibilities that physics declares can occur...

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