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Consciousness-in-the-world: an analytical investigation of the theory of phenomenal consciousness in the early works of Jean-Paul Sartre

Webber, J.M.; (2001) Consciousness-in-the-world: an analytical investigation of the theory of phenomenal consciousness in the early works of Jean-Paul Sartre. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

The primary aim of this thesis is to discern whether Sartre's early work on phenomenal consciousness has distinctive and valuable contributions to make to current debates over these issues in anglophone philosophy. The method is resolutely analytical, aiming to identify and assess the details of Sartre's position and arguments for it in the light of classical and current debates. This involves much exegetical work concerned with Sartre's use of terms and principles drawn from previous thinkers. The secondary aim is to show the extent to which the famous themes of Sartrean existentialism - freedom, bad faith, and the look - are grounded in his theory of phenomenal consciousness. The principal text is Being and Nothingness, though extensive use is made of works that preceded it. The thesis comprises four chapters. Chapter 1 is concerned with clarifying Sartre's conception of intentionality in relation to current anglophone conceptions of intentionality. I detail and defend Sartre's view that intentionality is a relation of apprehension that involves both qualitative and classificatory awareness. Chapter 2 situates Sartre in relation to classical and current theories of consciousness and assesses Sartre's arguments for his conception of intentionality. I claim that Sartre has shown that his conception is useful, but not that it is correct. In chapter 3, I argue that Sartre succeeds in maintaining that perception and hallucination involve distinct types of experience, where current anglophone attempts to maintain this fail. In Chapter 4, I argue that Sartre's holistic view of the subject as an environment-inclusive being-in-the-world is preferable to reductionism, and that his theory of qualitative aspects of experience is preferable to the representationalist approaches dominant in anglophone thought. I conclude by drawing out the implications of my discussion for Sartre's theories of freedom, bad faith, and the look.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Consciousness-in-the-world: an analytical investigation of the theory of phenomenal consciousness in the early works of Jean-Paul Sartre
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy

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