Existence and time,Consciousness

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Existence is being. It is distinguished from the essence which designates what a thing is. With the exception of God whose existence is eternal, the characteristic of existence is to be finite, limited in time. Existence is then opposed to death. Time designates a period that passes between two events. It is characterized by change (and this is why Plato defines it as a "moving image of eternity") and irreversibility (one cannot go back in time except in fiction, for example that of The Machine to exploring the time of HG Wells). The fact, for man, of knowing that his existence is finished invites him to meditate on the meaning of existence. The philosophies which center their reflection on existence are said to be existentialist. Christian existentialism (Pascal, Kierkegaard…) sees in the tragedy of an existence perceived as finished the opportunity for conversion to God. The atheist existentialist (Sartre) believes that finitude is not an obstacle to freedom and that man gradually builds his essence through his choices and actions.

Examples

The myth of Sisyphus

Because he offended the gods, Sisyphus is condemned to roll a rock to the top of a mountain, from which the stone falls back with its own weight. This punishment makes Sisyphus's work necessarily unfinished, eternally restarted, vain. But it is precisely this lack of meaning that interests Camus: Sisyphus is the "absurd hero" par excellence. Because, as he comes down the mountain, Sisyphus thinks: he contemplates his torment and, by doing so, overcomes his destiny. Existence is absurd but knowledge is a pledge of happiness: "you have to imagine Sisyphus happy".

Funès, the hypermnesic ...

Consciousness originally designates a shared knowledge (cum: with and scire: knowledge): it is a knowledge which accompanies the one who thinks. We then distinguish the spontaneous or immediate consciousness, turned towards the outside world, and the reflected consciousness where the ego returns to itself. With the modern philosophies of consciousness (or of the subject), which were born in the 17th century with Descartes, knowledge will henceforth be refocused on man, his faculties of thinking, his quest for identity. Conscience also has a moral sense: it is then what the subject can distinguish between Good and Evil. We will say for example that we act in conscience or that we have a bad conscience following a committed fault. The source of this moral conscience can be the heart (in Rousseau) or the reason (Kant).

Examples

The prince and the cobbler 

The English philosopher John Locke poses the following enigma: if we transplant the memory of a prince into the body of a cobbler does he remain the prince he remembers having been or does he become the cobbler observed by others? This is the first formulation of the problem of identity. For Locke,

“Consciousness makes personal identity”. In other words, identity extends to the limits of my memory, but not beyond. Real identity does not depend for the English empiricist on a "substance" but on the sole testimony of my conscience, that is to say of the unverifiable experience I have of myself.

The clock strikes

When the clock strikes the hour, how can we avoid making a mistake about the hour announced? Bergson takes ...

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