Paper Title

[1.2] On the Relation between Critical Thought, Action, Being and Essence

Location

International Building 1010, Moderated by Dr. Chris Goto-Jones

Start Date

19-1-2019 1:00 PM

End Date

19-1-2019 2:15 PM

Disciplines

Philosophy

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

In Existentialism and Human Emotions, Sartre suggests existentialism is a doctrine of action, and that these actions define one’s essence. However, Heidegger asserts that emphasis on action alone is problematic because it seemingly overlooks the importance of thought. To investigate these claims, I will briefly discuss Sartre’s Existentialism and Human Emotions, specifically his phrase, “existence precedes essence.” Next, I shall analyze Heidegger’s argument that man is not simply an object to be ‘produced’ in an auto-poietic sense, as well as his notion of humanism and the eksistent man. I will examine Heidegger’s assertion that thinking does not actualize potentiality, and thus for Sartre, is not an action which ‘counts’ toward defining our essence. Then, I will draw out some implications of Sartre’s claim that actions which have an external effect define our essence, and his suggestion that reality alone is what counts. I will argue in agreement with Sartre’s assertion that our essence is comprised of the actions we carry out, while also suggesting that it is imperative our actions be accompanied by critical thought. Critical thought shall be defined as thinking which takes into consideration the implications of one’s thought and consequent actions, does not blindly follow the instructions or claims of others without engaging one’s own thoughts, and considers all relevant positions before arriving at one’s own unique conclusion. To support my argument, I will discuss Arendt’s coverage of the Eichmann trial, where she observed that when action occurs in the absence of critical thought, catastrophic consequences can potentially ensue.

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Jan 19th, 1:00 PM Jan 19th, 2:15 PM

[1.2] On the Relation between Critical Thought, Action, Being and Essence

International Building 1010, Moderated by Dr. Chris Goto-Jones

In Existentialism and Human Emotions, Sartre suggests existentialism is a doctrine of action, and that these actions define one’s essence. However, Heidegger asserts that emphasis on action alone is problematic because it seemingly overlooks the importance of thought. To investigate these claims, I will briefly discuss Sartre’s Existentialism and Human Emotions, specifically his phrase, “existence precedes essence.” Next, I shall analyze Heidegger’s argument that man is not simply an object to be ‘produced’ in an auto-poietic sense, as well as his notion of humanism and the eksistent man. I will examine Heidegger’s assertion that thinking does not actualize potentiality, and thus for Sartre, is not an action which ‘counts’ toward defining our essence. Then, I will draw out some implications of Sartre’s claim that actions which have an external effect define our essence, and his suggestion that reality alone is what counts. I will argue in agreement with Sartre’s assertion that our essence is comprised of the actions we carry out, while also suggesting that it is imperative our actions be accompanied by critical thought. Critical thought shall be defined as thinking which takes into consideration the implications of one’s thought and consequent actions, does not blindly follow the instructions or claims of others without engaging one’s own thoughts, and considers all relevant positions before arriving at one’s own unique conclusion. To support my argument, I will discuss Arendt’s coverage of the Eichmann trial, where she observed that when action occurs in the absence of critical thought, catastrophic consequences can potentially ensue.