Critical Remarks

  • Richard M. Zaner
Part of the Phaenomenologica book series (PHAE, volume 17)


Several of the arguments in Sartre’s analysis of the body deserve close attention. Briefly, these may be formulated as follows:
  1. (1)

    The being of consciousness is not in any of its dimensions capable of being made into an object by the same consciousness. Therefor, in so far as the body-for-itself is a structure of the being of consciousness as for-itself, it cannot be made an object by consciousness. Similarly, consciousness can only exist its being a body-for-Others but not by itself. I do not know my body as such in its three dimensions, I am it: being it, my body can never become an object for me.

  2. (2)

    My body-for-itself, and in particular its system of sense organs, are only the “referred-to,” the “indicated,” of the objects “oriented” around it as their “center.” A sense organ therefore, considered as a member of my body-for-itself, knows nothing of “sense-data” of any description; rather, it is the center of reference indicated by the objects peculiar to it.



Sense Organ Critical Remark Physical Thing Auditory Object Ontological Dimension 
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  1. 1.
    Natanson, op. cit., cf. above, pp. 103–07.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    It is of the essence of intentionality, Husserl points out, that all objects point back to the consciousness of them. Cf. E. Husserl, Formale und Transzendentale Logik, Max Niemeyer (Halle, 1929), § 86, p. 187, and § 99, pp. 221–22.Google Scholar
  3. 1a.
    See also, Husserl, Cartesian Meditations, op. cit., §§ 20–22, pp. 46–55. It is already evident, then, that Sartre seems to give up intentionality and is quite far from “correcting” it.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    Cf. above, pp. 65–68.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    § 99, pp. 221–22, esp. 222, lines 1–10.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Alfred Schütz makes a similar mistake, in “Das Problem der transzendentalen Intersubjektivität bei Husserl,” Philosophische Rundschau, 5. Jahrgang, Heft 2 (1957), pp. 81–107, cf. esp. pp. 106–07.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    Cf. Aron Gurwitsch, “On the Intentionality of Consciousness,” Philosophical Essays in Memory of Edmund Husserl, M. Farber (editor), Harvard (Cambridge, 1940), pp. 65–84, esp. 66: “To be aware of an object means that, in the present experience, one is aware of the object as being the same as that which one was aware of in the past experience, and as the same as that which one may expect to be aware of in a future experience, as the same that… one may be aware of in an indefinite number of presentative acts.” Google Scholar
  8. 1.
    E. Husserl, Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie, Band I, Max Niemeyer (Halle, 1913), § 36, p. 64.Google Scholar
  9. 2.
    Cartesian Meditations, op. cit., § 14, p. 33.Google Scholar
  10. 1.
    Husserl, Erfahrung und Urteil: Untersuchungen zur Genealogie der Logik, Claassen Verlag (Hamburg, 2nd Ed., 1954), § 21c, pp. 97–98.Google Scholar
  11. 1.
    See, on this point, Husserl, Ideen, I, § 47; Formale und Transzendentale Logik, § 102; and Cartesian Meditations, § 8.Google Scholar
  12. 1.
    Formale und Transzendentale Logik, § 86, p. 187; cf. also § 97, p. 216.Google Scholar
  13. 2.
    A. de Waelhens, Une Philosophie de l’Ambiguïté, Universitaires de Louvain (1951), esp. pp. 4–8.Google Scholar
  14. 1.
    Husserl, Ideen, II, op. cit., § 18c, p. 65.Google Scholar
  15. 1.
    Piaget, e.g., has shown that this is by no means an innate endowment, but the result of a complicated history. Cf. Origins of Intelligence in Children, International Universities Press (New York, 1952), pp. 62–122.Google Scholar
  16. 2.
    Contrary to Mrs. Hazel Barnes’ interpretation in her “Translator’s Introduction” to Being and Nothingness, Philosophical Library (New York, 1956), pp. xl-xlii.Google Scholar
  17. 3.
    Cf., e.g., EN, 290, 297, and 300.Google Scholar
  18. 2.
    The necessity here is a factual necessity. Cf. EN, 342.Google Scholar
  19. 1.
    Metaphysical Journal, op. cit., p. 124 (May 7, 1914).Google Scholar
  20. 2.
    Ibid., p. 19 (January 19, 1914).Google Scholar
  21. 3.
    Ibid., pp. 313–339 (“Existence and Objectivity”).Google Scholar
  22. 1.
    Strasser, The Soul in Metaphysical and Empirical Psychology, Duquesne Studies (Duquesne University, Pittsburg, 1957), translated from the Dutch, pp. 147–48.Google Scholar
  23. 1.
    Cf. Schütz, “Sartre’s Theory of the Alter Ego,” PPR, Vol. ix, No. 2 (December, 1948), pp. 184–98.Google Scholar
  24. 2.
    As Sartre in fact admits I do. Cf. EN, 404–07.Google Scholar

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© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1971

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  • Richard M. Zaner

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