Being and Nothingness Paperback – Aug 1 1993
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Jean-Paul Sartre, the seminal smarty-pants of mid-century thinking, launched the existentialist fleet with the publication of Being and Nothingness in 1943. Though the book is thick, dense, and unfriendly to careless readers, it is indispensable to those interested in the philosophy of consciousness and free will. Some of his arguments are fallacious, others are unclear, but for the most part Sartre's thoughts penetrate deeply into fundamental philosophical territory. Basing his conception of self-consciousness loosely on Heidegger's "being," Sartre proceeds to sharply delineate between conscious actions ("for themselves") and unconscious ("in themselves"). It is a conscious choice, he claims, to live one's life "authentically" and in a unified fashion, or not--this is the fundamental freedom of our lives.
Drawing on history and his own rich imagination for examples, Sartre offers compelling supplements to his more formal arguments. The waiter who detaches himself from his job-role sticks in the reader's memory with greater tenacity than the lengthy discussion of inauthentic life and serves to bring the full force of the argument to life. Even if you're not an angst-addicted poet from North Beach, Being and Nothingness offers you a deep conversation with a brilliant mind--unfortunately, a rare find these days. --Rob Lightner
"There can be no doubt that this is a philosophy to be reckoned with, both for its own intrinsic power and as a profound symptom of our time." (The New York Times)See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
They don't even have the same publisher.
Trust me: unless you can find the 1956 edition from the Philosophical Library, buy the white version from Washington Square Press. The Citadel Press edition is abridged and more expensive. Even if it has a nicer looking cover, don't buy it.
I would say that if you are truly interested in Existentialist philosophy check it out at your library. If you are serious about reading this book then I highly suggest "A Commentary on Jean Paul Sartres's Being and Nothingness" by Joseph Castalano. Remember, philosophy is not just black print on pulpy paper. It's not something that is argued amongst old men but it is alive and is a force so powerful it has the ability to tear all your foundations and beliefs to the ground. Now I'm not saying I agree with Sartre on some parts ("man is a useless passion") but the basics behind Being and Nothingness should at the very least be thought about. For example, Sartre says since man cannot be all at once he much choose to be each moment of his life, in other words we choose the way we feel and the way we see ourselves.Read more ›
.........This brings me back to my praise of this book, and its lofty, creative theories. Yes, it has its problems in the area of readability, and this is particularly inexcusable because it was written in the second half of the twentieth century. However, we must not forget that it was Sartre who first coined the theory "being unto other" as an explanation for the phenomenon of human temporal experience. This, as it turned out, was an enhancement and fortification of Heidegger's phenomenological theory of "being-unto-death", and was able to incorporate this older and influential theory into a new and more comprehensive theory of the self. Keep in mind that Sartre does not necessarily contradict Heidegger's theories, but instead corrects their narrow, one-dimensional nature by adding to and expanding upon them.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
In this book, Sartre offers his reader a full-course meal on the meaning of existentialism. Man's freedom to choose and accept the responsibilities of his choices is the essence of... Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2007 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
Hey folks, this is not a book for beginners. And I mean beginners in a large sense, even those who have read Camus or Dostoyevsky ARE beginners. Read morePublished on March 25 2004
"Being and Nothingness" reminds me of a fine meal with a bad dessert. You end up saying, "Can't I come away with more than fruit? Read morePublished on Oct. 26 2003 by Nanx Hedwerp
Jean-Paul Sartre "commercialized" what initiates wanted to believe(les hommes de bonne Foi: "men of good faith" who were not merely "de trop"... Read morePublished on April 19 2003 by Arthur F. McVarish
Good Lord, what a book! First of all, there is a big difference between difficult reading and bad writing. This is simply bad writing. Read morePublished on March 12 2003 by B. M. White
Sartre is one of the few great intellectuals of our time, a political thinker, novelist, playwright, and philosopher. This, Being and Nothingness is his Magnum Opus. Read morePublished on Jan. 1 2003 by keith steele
Sartre is one of those rare philosophers who has broken out of the confines of academic philosophy and spoken to a broader reading public. Read morePublished on Dec 6 2002