Being in itself

From Academic Kids

Being in itself is the self-contained and fully realized Being of objects. It is a term used in early 20th century continental philosophy, especially in the works of Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and the existentialists.

Contents

Being in itself for Heidegger

In Heidegger's philosophy being in itself is contrasted with the Being of persons, which he calls Dasein. Dasein is Being that is aware of and interested in its own Being. Dasein is, by its nature, invested in social interaction and society. The argument for this claim draws heavily on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.

Being in itself can justifiably be used as a means to an end - that is, things can be used as tools - whereas Dasein is subject to moral laws.

There is some speculation that Heidegger's anti-Semitism stemmed from the fact that he did not consider Jews to be fully Dasein because they segregated themselves from society.

Being-in-itself for Sartre

In Sartrean existentialism, being-in-itself is also contrasted with the being of persons, which he describes as a combination of, or vascillation or tension between, being-for-itself and being-for-others.

One of the problems of human existence for Sartre is the desire to attain being-in-itself, which he describes as the desire to be God - this is a longing for full control over one's destiny and for absolute identity, only attainable by achieving full control over the destiny of all existence. The desire to be God is one of the ways people fall into bad faith.

Further reading

  • Essays in Existentialism Jean-Paul Sartre
  • The Ethics of Ambiguity Simone de Beauvoir

See also

Existence -- Existentialism -- Phenomenology

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