For Sartre, nothingness is the defining characteristic of the for-itself. A tree is a tree and lacks the ability to change or create its being. Man, on the other hand, makes himself by acting in the world. Instead of simply being, as the object-in-itself does, man, as an object-for-itself, must actuate his own being.

What is Sartre’s Being and Nothingness about?

In the book, Sartre develops a philosophical account in support of his existentialism, dealing with topics such as consciousness, perception, social philosophy, self-deception, the existence of “nothingness”, psychoanalysis, and the question of free will.

What is the concept of nothingness?

“Nothingness” is a philosophical term for the general state of nonexistence, sometimes reified as a domain or dimension into which things pass when they cease to exist or out of which they may come to exist, e.g., in some cultures God is understood to have created the universe ex nihilo, “out of nothing”.

What does nothingness mean in existentialism?

In existentialism: Ontic structure of human existence. … (as possibility) appears as the nothingness of Being, as the negation of every reality of fact.

What do you mean by being-in-itself and being-for-itself?

Being for-itself (pour-soi) is the mode of existence of consciousness, consisting in its own activity and purposive nature; being in-itself (en-soi) is the self-sufficient, lumpy, contingent being of ordinary things.

When did Sartre write Being and Nothingness?


Jean-Paul Sartre published his first novel, Nausea, in 1938. The novel stemmed from his belief that “existence precedes essence.” Five years later, Sartre published Being and Nothingness (1943), arguably his most famous work.

How is consciousness nothingness?

ABSTRACT Sartre’s claim in Being and Nothingness that consciousness is nothingness is typically understood as meaning either that consciousness is not itself, that it is not its objects, that it is not its past, or that it is some sort of state of affairs.

What does Heidegger mean by being in the world?

The term is roughly synonymous with Dasein, the term used by German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889–1976). The word being is meant to emphasize that human existence is an activity more than a state or condition.