Comments on “Sartre’s ghost and the corpse of God”


I know this is a stub, but...

One might say that it lives in the space-between subject and object; or that it pervades the situation in which it manifests, including both subject and object. But these metaphors are misleading; meanings simply don’t have locations.

Is there already an explanation somewhere why these metaphors are misleading? Why would it be harmful to say that meanings live simultaneously both inside and outside a person?

Not located

Is there already an explanation somewhere why these metaphors are misleading?

Not yet, I’m afraid!

Why would it be harmful to say that meanings live simultaneously both inside and outside a person?

Well… “misleading” rather than “harmful.” Just because meanings don’t have locations. They depend on things that have locations (brains; road signs), but it just doesn’t make any sense to say they are located themselves.

It might be a matter of semantics

This is in accord with Wikipedia’s definition of Existential Meaning

Existentialism supposes the meaning lives inside your head so it is subjective, internal, and individual

I’ve got a friend who says
That is not exactly Sartre’s or Heidegger’s position
The word Meaning has a different meaning for Existentialists
Existential Meaning is just a part of the whole Knowledge
Although it is individual-specific
It does not exist by itself
And is not the result of mere will

Existential Meaning is the part of Knowledge we’re conscious of
Sartre’s pre—reflexive cognito is the part of Knowledge we’re not conscious of
It is nebulous and patterned
Results from interactions across the subject-object limits
Things we don’t perceive directly
But that we can assume we have Knowledge of
Based on our actions in the world

We turn knobs to open doors
Even though we’re not conscious of the mechanism at hand (sorry)
It’s natural and unaware

Sartre’s pre-reflexive cognito = Meaningness’ Meaning

Meaningness Meaning is nebulous yet patterned
Words mean different things to different persons
Although they do obey perceivable patterns
Existential Meaning lives solely inside a person
Which is compatible

What do you think?
If this is true, it bears the question:
How is Meaningness different from Existentialism? (aside from semantics)
I’d love to better understand the differences

Thanks in advance!


I’m using the word “existentialism” roughly the way it is currently popularly understood. That is quite different from Heidegger’s existentialism. You are right that his version is close to the view I take in this book!

Well, I suppose if anyone is

simon3of3pontus's picture

Well, I suppose if anyone is to make use of volatile material like Heidegger, best leave it to you Vajrayana nutters. Any thoughts on Ernst Junger and his “anarch” concept?

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This page is in the section Meaning and meaninglessness,
      which is in Doing meaning better.

The next page in this section is Meaningness: the complete stance.

The previous page is Nihilism: the denial of meaning. (That page introduces its own subsection.)

This page’s topic is Meaningness.

General explanation: Meaningness is a hypertext book (in progress), plus a “metablog” that comments on it. The book begins with an appetizer. Alternatively, you might like to look at its table of contents, or some other starting points. Classification of pages by topics supplements the book and metablog structures. Terms with dotted underlining (example: meaningness) show a definition if you click on them. Pages marked with ⚒ are still under construction. Copyright ©2010–2018 David Chapman.