Sartre’s Early Phenomenology of Authenticity in Relation to Husserl

  • Jacob Golomb
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 80)


Unlike Husserl, the early Sartre created his version of phenomenology to advance an existential ideal, that of the authentic Self.1 His phenomenology of emotions and imagination aimed at purging consciousness of all content until it emerged as pure transparency and spontaneity.2 Such a consciousness becomes the author of the self and makes way for the aesthetic model of authenticity by enabling spontaneous creativity, unrestrained by any transcendental principle.3 Hence Sartre adopted from Husserl solely such motifs that helped him to ‘evacuate’ the consciousness of all “opaque” contents like the notion of unconsciousness; he remained quite critical, for example, of Husserl’s notions of the passive hyle. Be that as it may, Husserl’s thought was, perhaps, the most important stimulus for Sartre, but the nature of this influence was confined mainly to the phenomenological method and technique and to the negative ramification of liberation in order to make room for the positive ideals of Sartre’s existentialism, i.e., freedom = consciousness and authenticity. Nevertheless, the positive content of Sartre’s phenomenological ontology is open to various interpretations and is quite elusive as is his own notion of authenticity. We must bear in mind that despite several promises, Sartre never wrote a systematic treatise on ethics or on the moral doctrine of Existentialism.


Moral Doctrine Existential Phenomenology Spontaneous Creativity Phenomenological Ontology Aesthetic Model 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob Golomb
    • 1
  1. 1.Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

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