Sartre and the Other Author(s): Marjorie Grene Source: Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association

, Vol. 45 (1971 1972), pp. 22-41 Published by: American Philosophical Association Stable URL: . Accessed: 10/09/2011 01:24
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Sartreand the Other*
MARJORIE GRENE With some misgivings, I propose to share with you a fragmentary speculation about Sartre and what he has called the problem of the Other, in particular as expounded in Being and Nothingness in the two chapters on the Other and the Body. My misgivings have two sources. For one thing, it's obscure even to myself in what sense what I am going to say-and to report Sartre as philosophy. Is it "philosophical psycholas saying-counts or "philosophy of mind"? Since I find both these terms beogy' wildering, I can't tell. It is certainly not phenomenology in any pure Husserlian sense. Insofar as it interprets a Sartrean text, perhaps it's "hermeneutics", but as my own speculation at the hand of Being and Nothingness it could only count as hermeneutics in the quaint seventeenth century sense in which one book of nature, in this case the read-and interpreted-the book of human nature. My second reason for self-doubt: Being and Nothingness presents a view of man and the world which is, I believe, almost entirely mistaken. Why worry about it? Because this is a fascinating, indeed, I believe a great work in the tradition of western thought. How can one find philosophical greatness in a text whose premises, and the conclusions they entail, are false? One might put this question also about other philosophical classics; I shall certainly not try to answer it now. Instead let me leave both my meta-questions aside and plunge the middle, as Plato in the Phaedrus has into my discourse-in us not to do. warned In the chapter on the Other Sartre is trying, as he puts it, to "overcome the reef of solipsism". The Other must be approached, however, he tells us, not by any abstract argument (all these have failed), but by a second cogito. And this move, from the original cogito to the cogito by which I apprehend the Other, he likens to Descartes's move in the Third Meditation from himself to God. This is where I want to start.
' Presidential address delivered before the Forty-sixth Annual Pacific meeting of the American Philosophical Association in San Francisco, March 24, 1972. 22

But he had accepted from Husserl the thesis that all (thetic) consciousness is of-an object (in his terms. that forms for him the unique starting point of philosophy. But in itself the step from the cogito to God is simply the turning of attention from one direct presentation to another just as direct. That solution to solipsism. self-conscious intuition to another intuition equally evident. not the pure Cartesian intuition. and the cogito on which it rests is a non-thetic. the subtle scholarly debate on the Cartesian circle. in the move to which he finds a parallel to the movement of Descartes's argument in the Third Meditation. the patron of a unified knowledge of nature and of man. All we need for our present purpose is to recognize that Descartes's argument is indeed a peculiar one. which he has rightly recognized as typical 23 . What of Sartre? The external world is already with him in the in-itself whose negation the for-itself has been found to be. less than self-conscious consciousness (of) self. It is this non-thetic awareness (of) self. Sartre claims. however. To reach the Other. Sartre's example of the pre-reflective cogito. consciousness or the for-itself has been emptied. in the logician's sense. or at least non-thetic. and concentrate on one very simple point. it's the cigarettes he's thinking about: "elles sont douze" -but if you ask him what he's doing he at once replies: "counting my cigarettes".SARTRE AND THE OTHER It must be kept in mind of course. What are we to make of this? Without disrespect to those who have developed. and are developing. he now needs a second cogito. for him God is not only non-existent but impossible. then. the shield against error. with the'of' in parentheses to indicate that it's not properly intentional. as it is the strategy of a discoverer. The philosopher in his meditation must direct his attention from his first. so to speak. Once the thinker has taken that step from intuition I (the cogito) to intuition II (God). Sideways. self-contained. of the in-itself). I think we may safely set that aside here. is related to the activity of counting his cigarettes. It is solipsistic. And Sartre is certainly not moving from his (pre-reflective) cogito to God. like the Cartesian: Sartre's whole analysis of the for-itself so far has dealt with the single consciousness. he will have what he needs to go on again: the guarantor of his clear and distinct ideas. once he has looked with total attention at the idea of God that his own mind innately contains. precisely because it is not so much an argument. that the first cogito for Sartre is pre-reflective. many of you will recall. he was aware of himself as counting.

AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION of the tradition. God is. so here: the for-itself is ashamed. on the ground of one self-contained. if you like to use that quaint term. alone. In all these respects the situation here is very different. the monstrous for-itself that is not my for-itself. it is only lived or. and must be. 24 . and the move here again is from being to being. nor has he an idea of God to which he may next proceed: he cannot recover the old gentleman who receded from the Parisian rooftops so long ago. Another for-itself would be for-itself. the fulcrum of all intentionality. as the Cartesian cogito is. if with far-ranging dialectical instruments. fear and pride. equally absolute "intuition". all outward-directed. in the Meditations. and behold. but not for-me. or better quasi-intuition. existed. Yet the parallel Sartre draws between his argument and Descartes's is exact. he certainly cannot adopt. the pre-reflective cogito. being non-thetic. picking my nose). But the for-itself. Sartre has first discovered a different and non-thetic cogito. and the experience through which he apprehends it is the experience of shame. is not known. With reverence he looks at this. shame. That presence is the presence of the Other. thought. unique beginning. Descartes has first discovered an idea of himself. Moreover in his version the original cogito. As. not only in the description of the Lookin the famous scene at the keyhole (of which more in a moment) -but in the very beginning of the argument. and suddenly I find myself observed. the cogito of the Other. an experience which reveals to him directly a second directly apprehended presence. and indeed all reflective. as Descartes does in Meditation III. But he does have. not. like Descartes's moment of selfawareness. the believer looks with reverence to his God and acknowledges His being as the source of all being. Sartre has sharply contrasted being and knowing. the consciousness (of) self which is. He has been working so far. is. Nor is the move to the second cogito. The Other is there. I make an awkward gesture (say. It is this first and unique cogito which supports all the structures of the for-itself. How then can the for-itself discover such a contradictory double of itself? Only by a new. it is shame he starts from. and the being before whom he is ashamed is discovered to him as the Other. for him. separate. a cognitive move. which looms up in experience as direct and overwhelming. in the course of this chapter. he has secondly-has always had-an idea of an all-good. Throughout his argument so far. as for Descartes. Although he acknowledges three Other-revealing emotions. from one moment of knowing to another. all-powerful Deity.

Yet if. this is a move from being to being. but on the other hand my consciousness (of) self. while the Other as Other claims to organize the world around him. In the keyhole case of course the revealing emotion is shame. some one is coming. and thus makes his jealousy. and on my relation to it. as I have already emphasized. But there are certain emotions -fear. then. for Pierre. the fact that he is the lover of Therese who is having an affair with Paul is what makes him jealous. how I know other minds. shame. Pierre's jealousy is his absorption in the conjecture that Therese may be in there in bed with Paul. But the scandal is this: the world is organized around me. Pierre has been looking through the keyhole. Sartre starts in section 4 (the Look) and returns to questions: on the Existence of the Other. in this case. they would not be the facts they are. This duality of non-thetic consciousness. With these questions before us. I live the world in and through my (non-thetic) consciousness (of) self. This is the paradigm of the "situation" as Sartre here defines it.SARTRE AND THE OTHER which by its very being threatens me with degradation to objectivity. as analytical philosophers usually put it. made the world it is by my self-projection. how can such an Other be? And how. instead of the impassioned mediator of an all-absorbing 25 . Now again. makes him as a jealous man. reveal him not as a probable object in my world. In other words. into the room where Therese and Paul may be in bed together. as it is. suddenly he feels himself looked at. do I relate to him? These are the questions Sartre has to ask. through the keyhole. the way I am in the world through my emotion. On the level of probability I could manage that as I can the inferential knowledge of any other object. the problem is not. and pride-which uniquely reveal the Other. It is not a question of knowledge. But these "facts" are facts of a human situation only through his jealousy. in this case Pierre's jealousy. but both as questions of being. makes the grapes sour or my mistress unfaithful: this duality of situation is universal. is projected. in my being. the world is my world. That is Pierre's world. so that my emotion is just my way of being-in-the-world and yet at the same time makes the world what it is. Were he wholly indifferent to Therese and indeed away making love to Annette. but as lived by me in his very being. let us look at the Look. wholly engaged in spying out those within. through being jealous. he freezes. the jealous watcher at the keyhole (let's call him Pierre). Situation always has this dual character.

a loved object is just that: an object. Before that. so I become.AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION situation. The revelation of the Other is the loss of freedom. And with this revelation I lose my freedom. For it is the predator who freely stalks his prey. Sartre. I am no longer myself. Shame is shame of myself before the Other. But shame takes me from myselfand my possessions-and drops me. This is the second cogito Sartre was seeking. an object in his world. seeing me. Suddenly he is instead a possible target for a sniper's bullet. the Other. it is not other-related in the same way as shame. Jealousy. not just through a change of mood. but the target in his sight.P. is jealousy of Another. Thus the Other reveals himself by robbing me of my freedom: it is. Barnes(New York:Philosophical . He is afraid because somebody may be looking. but through the upsurge of the Other whom his shame reveals. not out of his own free choice. Sartre would insist. trl.' 26 ' J. the fall of the self into the Other's world. the Other plays the Devil's part. also sights me. into a place in the Other's world: he sees before him-a jealous lover. on the contrary. in which I may be a victim. dizzyingly. at least. But. he was curious. Hazel E. As the Other looms up as He Who May Shoot Me. is my magical way of keeping what is mine. on the lookout. Sartre follows Gide in saying. And that degradation happens. Beingand Nothingness. his freedom I have to live. he becomes-a spy. reveals the Other directly and inimediately as there. so certain particular consciousnesses-for example. too. He acquires a "character": a man who doesn't trust his mistress. not mine. For in Being and Nothingness. little more. therefore. through it the Other is there as He Who Makes Me Ashamed. "shame-consciousness"-bear indubitable witness to the cogito both of themselves and of the existence of the Other. the nasty role of sneak. It transformsthe world I was engaged in into the Other's world. Suddenly he is degraded to an object. suddenly. That is what it is to be afraid. and somebody's being there-eyes looking-is what is revealed through his fear. He Who May Get Shot. in fear. from jealousy to shame. however fast he runs. He writes: Just as my consciousness apprehended by the cogito bears indubitable witness of itself and of its own existence. That is why. A soldier reconnoitering in a valley feels himself looked at from a farmhouse on the hill. is prey. In jealousy I am conjuring away through my emotion the escape of one of my possessions-wife or mistress. but because the Other makes him so. Of course jealousy. In other words. and is afraid. the prey. a puppet with a role. Thus I become a character in his drama. it may be objected. Fear. too.

It is separatedfrom me by an infinite gap: the gap between my projectionof my possibilitiesand the Other'sprojection of his possibilities. the characterthe Other gives me.out of absorptionin the world. p. Over againstthe Other. and even acceptit as "my" character. Shame.and so to prevent my relapse into objectivityin the world that he the freelyconstitutes.we have seen. on the contrary. through humiliationor even death. Moreover. The third. is my being as I live it in the Other'slook. All quotations are from this translation. 27 . pride.he is that effort.frominstantto instantof the for-itself's istenceis boundto prevail. I rise up over againstOthersand glory in my Being. which degrades me to an object in his world. He wins-and the comLibrary.inalienablyaliI enated from myself. 1956). too. as the look exposesme to his power. suddenly I become aware of the Others as spectators. But he has listed three basic passionsthrough which the Other is known.Thoughadmittedly.One or otherof two I-Otherrelations: sadism that objectifiesthe Other or the masochismthat perversely acceptsmy own reductionto an object throughthe Other'sBeexing: one or the other. 273.but of my prowess.Perhapsbefore we go furtherwe should ask about its naturetoo. it is Yet not I. nothing else in all the world is there. All this is crystalclearfromSartre's examples. not knowing. accompaniedby non-theticawarenessof myself. This too may come as a sudden upsurge. not of my humiliation. but on principle he can.But in pride. the object I become in his world.The runner running a mile is (thetically) intent on getting to the goal. as well as fromhis expositionof the being of the Otherand from his crypticmetaphysicalremarks the conclusionof the chapat ter. Thus as being-for-Others am radically. that is how I am. it mustbe emphasizedonce more.I seem to assertmyself. is my being as I live it in the Other's look. He has not yet torn me from still -or again-on the level of being. in the light of the the secondcogito.SARTRE AND THE OTHER Andthis is primarily somethinghe knows.I mayindeed knowit too.shameand fear. Thus in either shame or fearthe Otheris the permanent possibilityof my destruction.of my success. Fear. non-theticallyhe is living his own effort. including this strange double that is "me". he expounds briefly. whole of Sartrean socialityconsistsin attemptsto evade this fate: in rusesto make the Other keep his objectivityin the worldof my freedom. but does not illustrate.

2 Ibid. I fear the Other's look. what the Other finds objectively in me. abandoning freedom for thing-hood. in its delusive use of self-objectification for self-assertion. Winning. is himself held aloft on Others' shoulders. but as the tools of his own aggrandizement. Pride. for Sartre. does in fact look at me. my self-assertion which responds to his by threatening him. generalized Other can be before me in this fashion.2 It is in bad faith because it has allowed the illusion of objectification to creep into my selfconsciousness. I use to objectify him. Only a non-denumerable. in his pride he seems to lift himself above them. but is it? If our Winner really objectifies the Others. But that is to make my freedom thing-like. but vanity. on principle. proudly he acknowledges his own being as Winner before the grateful crowd. I fall into shame. This is surely not pride. Moreover.. But it is also transitional and unstable. like vanity. vanity is the use of my objectivity for this purpose: my beauty or prowess. he becomes the one who has won. turning the force of my free existence against the Other's freedom. arises as the converse of shame: it is my superior look against the falling Other. not to the Other. in Sartre's own terms. But where in all this is pride? Let us reflect again. unstable. 28 . 292-3. My consciousness. Moreover. It is the attempted reaction to it. taken as a being I can put before Others and "be proud of". He grasps the coveted cup.AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION mending. it seems. acclaiming Others appear. formerly absorbed in the effort to reach the goal. pp. for in fact I must either defeat the Other and so become wholly my own freedom. but this thing-like being-the-winner is nevertheless a betrayal of his pure freedom. The runner running has winning-the-race before him as a not-yet-being whose nonbeing he has to nihilate. And in fact. the nihilation of the in-itself that is the for-itself. as the possibility of my fall. But pride. The others acclaim him. To one Other I can be only victim or destroyer. this one Other. to flee the dreadful self-making. When the Other. pride. pride is a relation to anonymous Others. This sounds straightforward. or succumb to shame and alienation before him. is now somehow made focal. holds it aloft. And Sartre does indeed insist that pride arises on the foundation of "fundamental shame". they have lost their Otherness and become merely objects in his world. in short. so they have not revealed themselves as Others acclaiming him. is necessarily in bad faith. is the fleeting resurgence of the For-Itself against the Other-in-general. and. to the crowd.

at which he clearly goes astray. Such. his failure to see the counterexamples that invalidate his "solution". all interrelated. from the wrong turnings he has taken along the way. instead. is the confinement of the pre-reflective cogito to consciousness (of) self. what philosophical objections we can raise to Sartre's position and to what alternative they lead us. There are. subsidiary) awareness 29 . or the look of mother and infant. I believe. and although his argument. I have recalled the example of the cigarettes. and his phenomenological or empirical narrowness. however. solidarity becomes class struggle. The first and most fundamental error. in general. though useful. one can say in general-and Piaget's example can be supported by a thousand others-that the usual thrust of non-thetic (or as Polanyi calls it. Although much in his account is subtly and convincingly observed. not in fact Sartre's consciousness (of) self. where the one protects and the other is protected. What grounds have we for doing so? We may of course simply invoke the testimony of experience: the rare but still indubitable experience of mutual understanding. on his own premises-on the foundation. of the cogito alone-is irresistible. But counterexamples. are not sufficient to answer philosophical questions. for the Sartre of Being and Nothingness. it seems to be secondary to the basic emotions of shame and fear. is the ground of all community: language becomes a form of seduction. stem.SARTRE AND THE OTHER necessarily in bad faith. against me. In its revelation of the Other. But this is not so much the "refutation of solipsism" as it is the discovery that though I have to be myself alone. which had been laid down already in the Introduction to Being and Nothingness. illustrates. love becomes an alternation between sadism and masochism. We may still ask. one wants nevertheless to question it. of the reciprocal look of peers. Indeed. and deprived of some simulation at least of an affectionate initiation by Others into the human world. Just this example. Sartre follows it by referring to Piaget's discovery that children who can do arithmetic can't say how they do it. philosophically. Or we may rely on an empirical generalization as counterexample: the fact that human infants deprived of a family setting develop more slowly. but its contrary: a non-thetic consciousness that carries us away from self to the world. three junctures in his argument. there is. In its immediate appearance there seems no internecine warfare here. therefore. an Other who will not let me be-because he would be. become retarded perhaps beyond recall. as he proudly acclaims.

all that becomes part of me-like the child's skill in arithmetic-becomes at the same time a repertoire of attitudes. past and future. at the structures of this everyday existence. For Sartre. would best characterize in general the concern-for. we are. and through which alone. without Cartesian prejudice. There is a flowing reciprocity here of inner and outer. If Polanyi. On the contrary. at the way in which human being is in the world. Sartre. There is no cut between a consciousness (of) self and an external world which it denies and by whose denial it is. as Heidegger and Polanyi have jointly shown. on the other hand. Heidegger in Being and Time has best described the fundamental character of human being which makes this relation possible. however. in all the varieties of from-to awareness. of a stretch fromto-. Husserl in Inner Time-Consciousness has christened "protension" and "retention" the forward and backward aspects of temporal consciousness. has best described the epistemological core of this situation. for the understanding or performance of which I am relying on those inner clues. of course. and this uncompromising negativity has obscured for him the positive relation that binds me to the world. We find 30 . "consciousness" develops. just as the things are from the first"there" as stuff (Zeug) of interest or of use to human being. Human being from the first is out there with things. In fact. the being-out-there-with-. which does. resists this insight. we are also always-perhaps first of all-(and this is a transition to my second point) already out there with other people. non-thetic and thetic. I suggest that the term "tension" with its connotation of tautness. there is a primary and pervasive tension from "self" to world and back again. out there with things. and so the being of man himself. the for-itself develops as the negation of the in-itself. indeed. a tension through which. through which I attend to my present concerns out there in the hope of achieving my future goals. all that I appropriate from the world. Being-in-the-world is prior to "consciousness" and shapes it. Beingwith-others is an essential aspect of being oneself. that founds the relation of man to world. "beg the question" of solipsism. of incipient actions. we find no reef of solipsism. with things and other human beings. with his distinction between focal and subsidiary awareness. Now if. But it begs the question precisely because at long last we are not starting from the cogito but from a very different beginning: the everyday existence of human being before methodological doubt. And when we look carefully.AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION is from clues within myself to something out there.

with its threat of solipsism or alternatively of annihilation by the Other. Were he not among-others. the ideal of 3 Ibid. of that primary being. but by learning to participate in a given social world. but also its corollaries. could not see. at this juncture too. himself. he could not become. who wrote to Russell "I am a solipsist. being against the world and others. one can indeed wonder about our "knowledge of other minds". nor conversely can we think of deriving being-for-itself from being-for-others. through philosophical contrivance. of the fundamental structure of being-with-others-in-the world. he declares: . he expresses in his very existence. would be to adandon. To put the question at all in those circumstances is to join Mrs. But what Sartre fails to see. in his humanity and in his individuality. Ladd-Franklin. in a world made by others. necessarily and essentially an expression of a social world. We can not think of deriving being-for-others from a being-for-itself as one would derive a consequence from a principle. by his initial misreading of non-thetic consciousness. 31 . indeed. not only the primacy of the cogito. . it is beingwith that is primary. Specifying a number of ontological theses suggested by the phenomenology of the Look. however. But in its fundamental way of being.being-for-Others is not an ontological structure of the For-itself. To put it in ordinary-or less extraordinary-language. To admit this. why isn't everybody?". the human individual is. One passage in the chapter on the Other shows clearly how. The for-itself and the for-others are both expressions. p. and. given his Cartesian starting point. and developments. being-alone. A human individual acquires humanity. 282. not just by being born a member of homo sapiens. that is a negation. is that both the for-itself and the for-others depend for their very possibility on what we may call (to adopt for the moment Sartre's Hegelian style) the among-others.SARTRE AND THE OTHER on the contrary structures which eliminate the very question of solipsism. and so could not be. however he may rebel against it. Without being-among-others there is no human reality of any kind at all.3 Now of course it is true that the for-others cannot be deduced from the for-itself nor the for-itself from the for-others. Sartre has taken a fatal misstep-a step necessitated.. human being becomes what it is in and out of its being-with-others. which in turn. In a refined and reflective intellectual posture.

by means of the "character" I have "for others". who objectifies it. combine to constitute his present preoccupation and reverberate in it. And the future too will be not only mine but ours and theirs: the stream that founds the past of future projects. the past is social. Sartre recognizes. But it is "mine" in a perspectival sense: as the narrowing to one sector of a constant stream of interactions. as the flight of consciousness from itself. I throw myself into a situation. the giving of myself to these organized totalities is always flight from myself. Besides. how his account of situation is affected-and distorted-by these preconceptions. temporality and spatialization. Social time and social space are already presupposed as necessary conditions for the existence of the for-itself. the situation has two contradictory aspects: it is all in the world and at the same time all in my (non-reflective) consciousness. can the present situation of this individual emerge as such. Thus the concept of a pure detached instant as the model for the existence of consciousness is illusory. Looked at this way. Only out of this interplay of future and past. How can this to-and-fro be stabilized? Only by the appearance of the Other. and so make it one. and thus free. Yet in terms of the for-itself. creates a public world of objective space and time. the future possibilities to which I am attending. these make my present. to watch or listen is to anticipate what may be happening the other side of the door. True. both my own and others'. is wholly out there in the world and is the situation it is in view of my way of being in it. But Sartre adheres throughout to both these Cartesian principles. from the situation into which I have been cast toward the future situation I envisage: all this can happen only in bad faith. To move out there. and my relation to the Other. A situation. His past. this instant. Sartre says. in here. Yet Pierre has not been dropped from heaven to watch and listen at the keyhole. The past into which I have been cast. as the future is my future. which is primary. indeed the past of Gallic sexuality. Therese's past. very briefly. The watcher at the keyhole is "beside himself" in the scene he is watching and yet the scene is the scene it is because he casts himself into it. if anything could. To act now. Only the Other. make the spatiality that surrounds me. would be freedom. Thus Sartre's account is grounded in the concept of a present instant of pure freedom. it is my past. Let me consider here.AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION the instant as the one temporal reality and the conception of freedom as pure activity. Only the present could be authentic. Moreover. On the con32 .

I have come "to myself" in and out of the traditionof some particularsocialworldinto which I happento have been born. in developed.SARTRE AND THE OTHER trary.too. They express. stressesthe futurityof humanexistence: I am my illusoryalso.not instantsof pure consciousness. It entailsthe interiorization be able to put himselfin another'splace and anotherin his. Thus the humanpresent. of Finally. however one's standardsmay become. historically.of the present. they must be comidiosyncratic munal. as standardsthey must claim universality: they entail what Polanyicalls "universalintent".Sartrehimself. If the moment is illusory. But his all-or-nonedialectic. Now admittedly. has a social extensiveness.and thus Heidegger. standards of this culture. in otherwords. its primarythrustis to the future. and so to be a possibilityis to be what is not-and thus to not-be. will be the stuffof others'actions as well as of my own. 33 .In this sense role-playing is not as such a betrayalof freedom-as it is for Sartre-but the instantiation it.human being is social preciselybecause it is historical. developedthroughparticipation and expresses.if freedomarisesout of a socialpastandexiststhrough generalization. of themselvessocially. Humanfreedomis never instantaneousand threesenses.which is also spatialization. Acting as free agent.they musthave grown out of a social world.I as a free agent am this unique center of action and choice that has the in.but rulesby which I judge my own performance judge that any and other person in my circumstances should judge Plessner of has emphasized.standards free submissionto which I have learned to act responsiblyeven if I often fail to do so. to be only in the mode of nihilation. rejected)by me with universalintent. the momentof action itself. For it is characteristic a humanperson.I act not only as myself. is this possibilityof detachmentthat makesan It actionfree. And again. but a futurewhich reverberates it beyondmy own possibilities. combined with his Cartesianism. Thus the very concept of free action demandsa relationto others.however. Indeed. but as he-who-would-do-so-and-so-in-such-and-suchcircumstances. Secondly.not just my "subjective"preferences.the momentof pure freedom. First. the very conceptsof "success" or "failure" imply submission to standardsby which achievementor its denial can be judged.that is.leads him to interpretthis being as a non-being:a possibilityis what is not (yet).Human time is built out of historicalstretches. accepted (or. a fortiori. indeed.

is. That discovery. This was the second misstep I wanted to point out. fails to see. through an-other consciousness. a stretch to the future. For it concerns that most basic Cartesian error:the division of consciousness from the body. but the gaze "behind" them. far from being the passive exteriority of the in-itself. the primary relation which Sartre. and universal in their intent. once more. is also to be: to be as a protension. also entail sociality. Sartre insists. the future into which I act is social both as the stuff of history for future actions. that plenitude from which the for-itself rises up as nihilation. in its character of responsible action. the consciousness that threatens to organize me into its world. thus it is that through the Other's look I discover my body. perhaps even the most fundamental of all. however. But these relations too. the Other's eyes that look at me. The history out of which I act is the history of a culture. and as demanding. the for-itself (and afortiori the for-others) is an expression of the among-others. Admittedly. we have seen. however. the development of a retrospected past. So. equally apparent in a number of passages in the same chapter. in his commitment to the cogito and associated concepts. an-other consciousness. It is not.AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION To be in the mode of possibility. The third. is founded. is equally fundamental. menacingly and paradoxically. whether of myself or others. as I have been trying to suggest. I fall from being for-myself toward the inertia of mere corporeality. in 34 . and limited by. on the for-Others as an upsurge in consciousness. The introspection of a for-itself is the condensation into a relatively instantaneous stretch of consciousness of these primary temporal relations. as we have seen. applicable to myself at other times and to others as well as to myself. becomes what it is through the prospecting of possibilities founded on. The present situation. a "fold in being" rather than a "hole". Even my relation to the Other is a relation between consciousnesses. to follow Merleau-Ponty's metaphor. however. while Sartre has already admitted the in-itself as the target of intentionality. the body in its real existence only reappears in the last Meditation. Sartre insists. reference to standards that are socially derived. in the Third Meditation-which corresponds. In all this "beating about the neighboring fields" I have been commenting on Sartre's statement that the for-Others is not an ontological structure of the for-itself. on the contrary. to the place Sartre has reached in his argument in the chapter on the Other-Descartes is still operating wholly within the sphere of consciousness. I have been arguing that. The Other.

What happens here? In Sartre'sterms. My shame. Of courseSartreknows res this. on the one hand. is that I do.carriedby the special non-theticconsciousness self that is called fear. I can be awareof the Othereven when "in fact" he is not there. it was non-theticconsciousness of my embodiedself. But is Is this experiencethereforedisembodied? it pureconsciousnessSartre's of-peril-as-for-itself-before-the-Other's-possible-gaze? of own description betraysthe untenability this view. on the other hand. 5 Loc. the quiet with which I breathed. But my jealousy. My shameis my red face. what really is the bodily aspect of my being that the Otherrevealsto me? 4 Ibid. I fall from thetic consciousnessof the sustainedby non-theticconsciousness (of) territory. . But that is not to say that I wasnot in any way awareof it before.Indeed. My shame is my red face as I bend over the keyhole. . there is no one there at all-his shamemaylinger. Similarly.Sartrehas described earlier the soldier. was.5 other words. surrounding self (I am curious. too. in no otherway.4the occasionof my feeling of being looked-at. "is my red face as I bend over the keyhole". . he is no believerin a Cartesian cogitansor disembodied soul. Pierremaysuspectsomeoneis watching him watchingand experiencethatwatchingas (or in) shame. In he says. it was the stealthinessof my posture. my intentness in watching. Now of course it is indeed true that I may be aware of my presenceto otherseven when in fact no Other is at the keyholescene. a body that could become another'starget. Then how. 277. and.. 35 . cit. to thetic consciousnessof my body as an object in another' seems to me. become awareof my body in a new way. interested.SARTRE AND THE OTHER which the objective fact of his looking at me is "a pure monition".He hears fear that revealsthe Otherto a reconnoitering over there in the undergrowth-and becomesvulnercrackling able. I exist as embodied and being-in-the-world. does he see my relationto my body priorto the Other'sdegradationof me to an object in his world.Now whatis (of) correctin this account. p.the way I strainedto see what was going on on the other side of the door. not just nonthetic consciousness (of)selfas such. Thus. the emotion through which I find myself before the Other is at the same time a state of bodily being.alert). in shameor in some kindsof fear. and even though he finds himself mistaken-it was only some one leaving by the street door.

No. in conclusion.AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION To answer these questions we need to examine (briefly) the next chapter. but as known to the Other. It is the means by which I reduce to the level of mere living the spontaneity by which the Other organizes his world. that body for-itself is. through my demotion of him to the protoplasmic quivering of mere life. on which his social theory will be built. but in responding to this threat I can in turn transcend his transcendence and so make him-flesh. some how. the body for-others is what results when the Other consciousness. And at the same time that consciousness is wholly body. it is simply the necessity that there be a choice. which still entails reference to that transcendence in my very conquest of it. It is that sort of transcendence that torture aims to transcend. his world including myself in it as transcendence to be transcended. It is the necessity of my contingency. I live my body as alienated. vile jelly!" Gloucester's eyes are not pieces of gelatinous matter. the accusing gaze of a wronged father and friend. the body for-others and the body for-itself as known by the Other. to be sure. It is the non-thetic consciousness through which. In all three sections he is reworking themes already treated earlier in the argument. Sartre expounds in turn three aspects of the body: the body for-itself. I act out and into the world. For it is. how Sartre's view of the body/consciousness relation has helped to mislead him in his view of the Other. It is the choice that I am. born thus and so into a world. All these aspects of bodily being. The body for-itself is the concrete expression of my facticity. as Other-consciousness and threat. to know him as a corpse. emergent into my consciousness as alien transcendence. What enters my consciousness first. but the Other as transcendence. to the in-itself: that would be to know the Other's body just as I know inanimate things. Not. precisely the necessity of my contingent existence. he sums up in a final phrase: "The body is the in36 . as slipping from me into a place in the Other's world. is not the Other's body. of the necessity that I be born some where. not only as for-myself. the condition for all possible action on the world. ''Out. and we can then return in conclusion to the question. however. In other words. I live my body. the degradation to flesh is the transcendence of his transcendence. This is the root meaning of alienation for Sartre. Thirdly. out. thetically. Secondly. the body is consciousness. on "The Body". As for-itself. but the instruments of another's gaze. again. is in turn transcended. That is how I live the Other's body for-himself. mind you.

Precisely.". It is also. But how can I be at the same time my possibility and the means to that possibility? And how can I know that I am so? The answer to both questions is a single one. The body. or knowing and living. Knowing for him is a thetic confrontation with the object of thought. Sartre says again. from where I am sitting. His argument leads him to the insight that our sense-mediated interaction with the world. 37 . in which he moves from the will-of-the-wisp "sensation" (or sense-data). might have evoked. Thus my body is the instrument that I am. I remove their content. Yet it also summarizes. unable to take. the indispensable ground of knowledge and of action. Similarly. were itself known. and therefore all our information about the world. the nihilation of what is in favor of what is not. the passion by which. the fundamental tool becomes a relative center of refer6 Ibid. and so on. we have seen. is the neglected. instead of being a non-thetic ground of action. p. but as lived by me as threat to my own being. the surpassed. For suppose the body. it is to my right. The cup is not just on the table. appearing to the for-itself. thanks to his own premises. Sartre makes this crystal clear in a brilliant analysis of the traditional philosophy of sensation. . both the impasse to which Sartre's approach to the body has brought him and the way out that he is. for myself. Sartre has been operating all along. in terms of a strict dichotomy between knowing and being. . beyond the pencil. 359. to sense and sensible objects. the body. is lived and not known. I relate myself to myself as knowing that object. he holds. lays to rest once and for all any problems that the body. because it is my point of view. Without it knowledge would vanish into contentless relations.. contrasted with it is the non-thetic awareness of the fashion in which.6 This summarizing statement. the point of view that is my bodily being. If I remove from such relations all perspectival reference. Sartrewrites: In this case . is necessarily tied to its point of origin. the instrument of instruments.SARTRE AND THE OTHER strument that I am. and for that reason. and then to action as the necessary correlate of sense. Such knowledge would be empty. It is the surpassed because in and through it I act out onto the world and am acted on by things (and people) in the world. in my opinion. What is it to be an instrument? It is to be a means-to what end? The end is the for-itself's project. the nihilation that I am. The Other looms up not as the object of knowledge.

for example. then. necessary. 38 . are wholly disparate and mutually exclusive. It is the unityin-plurality of lived bodily being as it bears on knowing and. Thus. Read in terms of the concepts of focal and subsidiary awareness.p.8 And these two possibilities. shares this same structure. knowing is never lived. secondly. Living is never and cannot be knowing. not the foot which brakes or the hand which hammers. the brake and the change of speed. for the act reveals the hammer and the nails. for us.AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION ence which itself supposes other tools to utilize it. Sartre's dicta on the body take on a different meaning. from perception to the grasp of the most abstract theories. 8 Loc. In this case the body is present in every action although invisible. on all rational action. Thus. all knowledge of the world. indeed. cit. The body is lived and not known. consciousness surveys a universe of exteriority and can no longer in any way enter into the world. the world of action becomes the world acted upon of classical science. By the same stroke the instrumentality of the world disappears. Yet if the first alternative is empty and for us impossible of achievement. and the second full of all the concrete content of experience and. therefore. there is none-or rather. there is the duality of subsidiary and focal awareness. for Sartre. nails. . why must we keep up the pretence that there is a dichotomy here? In fact. it is at the end of Ibid. Alternatively. 324.. he continues: . he insists. All reasonable action on the world. . arm. But this is not the irreconcilable duality of living against knowing. the body must be lived and not known. hand. that I am focally aware of placing the picture the way I want it on the wall. a duality inherent in all knowing and all action. for in order to be revealed it needs a reference to an absolute center of instrumentality. he writes: My body is everywhere: the bomb which destroys my house also damages my body in so far as the house was already an indication of my body. Thus the body is present though invisible in the hammer and the nails just because it is through my subsidiary awareness of hammer. This is why my body always extends across the tool which it utilizes: it is at the end of the cane on which I lean and against the earth.the body is given concretely and fully as the very arrangement of things in so far as the For-itself surpasses it towards a new arrangement.

But.p.SARTRE AND THE OTHER the telescope which shows me the stars. Once more. in the whole house. as always. Two hands. Merleau-Ponty comes very close to it in The Phenomenology of Perception and. the seer-seen. the one purely active and the other purely passive and external. What has bodily being to do with this? The answer is given. The pure act of consciousness and the tension of living must be for him wholly and ineradicably opposed. he makes it clear. in Sartre's own argument. The Other for me.9 This is true. consciousness from the external world. as we have seen. however. Polanyi's distinction between focal and subsidiary awareness. especially in this chapter. it is a description of the structure of knowledge itself. in my view. is in fact the Other 9Ibid. that touching and being touched. where he was still struggling with the mystery of the touching-touched. as distinct from Cartesian instantaneity and the isolation of the single for-itself. I believe. But the crucial question for my present discussion still remains. nihilation from reality. But it is not a description of living as against knowing. both mine. that provides the solution for the problem. The step to enfranchisement of lived bodily existence as the vehicle of knowledge and of rational action he has been unable to take. my hand as touching is my consciousness in act. even Sartre himself comes close to it in many passages. it is on the chair. are entirely opposed to one another. 325.. by implication. his Cartesianism has held him in thrall. He declares early in the chapter on the body. I have been considering the account of the body as. in my view. And it is. for it is my adaptation to these tools. 39 . forever separated by the total gap that isolates for-itself from in-itself. with the exposition of this chapter in particular that Merleau-Ponty was wrestling from The Phenomenology of Perception-which begins with a theory of the body-to The Visible and the Invisible. this simple move is one Sartre cannot make. It seems clear to the point of truism that history and with it sociality are prerequisites to an understanding of our being with others. for example. belong to two worlds. at least till very recently. At the close of the chapter he insists again: my hand as touched is a mere external object. It is. the third place where Sartre goes astray in his approach to the Other. and the theory of tacit knowing elaborated on the basis of that distinction.

. the same being. Sartrehas insisted. Suppose I see Pierre raise his arm. In those phenomena mistakenly called "expressive". Now for Sartre.These frowns. in his discussion of expression. the for-itself develops. the person I am. Consider my perception of the Other. and in interaction with which. just as my own living of my body for me is secondary to my being. in the workaday world. The expressions are the phenomena: . of course. 346. as nihilating for-itself. cit. p. But this is just the bodily being of others through which. . there is no hidden spiritual something behind what appears. among them. To perceive the Other in his bodily being . he concludes. what has happened to the Other as Consciousness? Other as body. The Other as body is secondary to this experience. The Other's expression and in it his very being are not given me as the inkwell is. this slight trembling of the hands. for instance. Sartre says. in social groups. the perception of an arm raised beside a motionless body. is posterior to that first. " Loc. But isn't Pierre-for-me Pierre in his original way of being in my world? Is it not bodily being-with that comes first.. directly and all at once. In the family.oIbid. this stammering. he insists. his mood is in his looks as their meaning. but in a wholly other ontological dimension. 40 . this redness. What I see is an angry man. what I see is Pierreraising-his-arm. these downcast looks which seem at once timid and threatening-these do not express anger. ontologically as well as empirically? Sartre comes very close here to saying this himself. It is Pierre acting on the world through anger that is before me. as an inert piece of matter. they are the anger. this being with others is always being against others. He writes: ." Yet this is not behaviorism. it is the bodily being-there-with-me of the others that enables me to become.'1 Yet if this is correct. Thus.AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION as embodied. hemorrhagic starting into being of the Other which threatens to organize the world around him and so drains me away from myself. The Other's body with its various meanings exists only for me: to be an object-for-others or to-be-a-body are two ontological modalities which are strictly equivalent expressions of the being-for-others on the part of the for-itself. Pierre's body is in no wise to be distinguished from Pierre-for-me. This is not.

It is only with the others that I can have the breathing space to be myself. not conflict. I being-withPierre am also equally myself as body and myself for Pierreand I myself-for-myself. self-dependent negation of an alien in-itself. in turn. as a center of meanings which I try to apprehend. Starting from the for-itself as solipsistic consciousness (of) self. It is to see his bodily presence as derived from that first clash of consciousnesses which is the original emergence of the Other. Yet if we take the phenomena of expression as primary. too. as Sartre. The space I live in is the space created. subjectively experienced. for example. that shape the space in which the for-itself can grow. notes. And there are expressions which by their very nature exemplify. whether directly given. Thus however inward and immediate its feelings. may embody solidarity as well as conflict. not transcendence transcended. The Other is there. am the inward resonance of those outward relations. and encounter itself. on the contrary. like the for-itself and the for-others. there may be mutuality. however indirectly. If. of the among-others. or mediated by cultural artifacts. the story is very different. and developments. that mark each personal history. it is developed and deepened. we start from bodily human being in the child's first year of life. we find the human person emerging in and through. I argued earlier that both the for-itself and the for-Others are expressions. by the human presences. to put him out of action. as the ground of encounter. Thus if Pierre as body and Pierre for me are correlative ontological indices of the same reality. in which it can develop its own consciousness and its own freedom. from the bodily being-in this case the being together-of persons. I make him a body in order to defeat him.SARTRE AND THE OTHER is to perceive him as a transcendence to be transcended. such expressions can appear only as strategies in the internecine war of each against each. even in solitude. by such bodily being-with. and mine. but a bodily sedimentation. It is created in the first instance by maternal affection. and forget the compulsion of the cogito. 41 . in its root nature. but love. I share Pierre's indignation. Buytendijk has analyzed in this sense. the for-itself is not a pure. and Plessner the expression of the smile as such. but encounter. For the Other's expression. of the among-others. We can now add the further thesis: that the among-others. But affection as much as anger is the bodily being-there of another with me. is indistinguishable. the child's first smile. and overcome. Even in Sartre's example of anger. It is affection. cramped or cut off. if for instance. out of my own for-itself.

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