Presentation Title

Finding Meaning in Existence: Sartre vs. Heidegger

Presenter Information

Scott Dyer

Mentor

Brian Kanouse

Location

David F. Putnam Science Center - 126

Abstract

In this paper, I examine the phenomena of trying to find meaning in existence, and the differing views between two prominent existential philosophers, Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre, in his book Being and Nothingness, offers a fundamentally different view from Heidegger in his attempt to complete Heidegger’s unfinished work of Being and Time. While Heidegger says our consciousness is always already a consciousness of something and therefore intrinsically meaningful in the world, Sartre says our consciousness can never actually become anything. This creates a world void of meaning, and a life that does not allow an individual to ever have a meaningful existence. I will discuss the implications of these different ways of seeing existence in the world, as well as argue that Heidegger’s perspective offers hope and the possibility for authenticity in one’s life.

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Apr 11th, 3:05 PM Apr 11th, 4:05 PM

Finding Meaning in Existence: Sartre vs. Heidegger

David F. Putnam Science Center - 126

In this paper, I examine the phenomena of trying to find meaning in existence, and the differing views between two prominent existential philosophers, Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre, in his book Being and Nothingness, offers a fundamentally different view from Heidegger in his attempt to complete Heidegger’s unfinished work of Being and Time. While Heidegger says our consciousness is always already a consciousness of something and therefore intrinsically meaningful in the world, Sartre says our consciousness can never actually become anything. This creates a world void of meaning, and a life that does not allow an individual to ever have a meaningful existence. I will discuss the implications of these different ways of seeing existence in the world, as well as argue that Heidegger’s perspective offers hope and the possibility for authenticity in one’s life.