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Early Sartrean philosophy is one of a pursuit of being It is an attempt to grasp being through an investigation of the way being presents to consciousness - phenomenological ontology Phenomenological ontology refers to the study of being through its appearances This simplistic definition needs further clarification First by phenomenon Sartre refers to the totality of appearances of a thing and not simply a particular appearance As Wilfrid Desan writes phenomenology is a method which wants to describe all that manifests itself as it manifests itself Moreover HJ Blackham observes that in Sartre the objects of consciousness the phenomena the appearances of things disclose what is really there as it really is though never exhaustively This position is better understood when we come to discuss Sartres twofold division of being There we shall find that the in-itself presented to the reflective consciousness in phenomena is a totalized being being in its plenitude Blackham continues Consciousness implies and refers to an existence other than its own and to its own existence as a question It is this relation of the pour-soi to the en-soi which is the foundation and the only condition of knowledge and action Knowledge is necessarily intuition the presence of consciousness to the object which it is not This is the original condition of all experience Before the object is defined and interpreted consciousness constitutes itself by separating itself from it Second most commentators claim that Sartre preferred ontology to metaphysics because the former as the study of being as being presupposes the traditional claim of the precedence of essence over existence and the existence of human nature Moreover although ontology denotes the study of being it does not revive the ghosts of substance soul and God Sartre claims that the basic distinction of Existentialism from other systems of thought is its claim of the precedence of existence over essence and the negation of a primordial human nature Man first is and
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