We’ve often name-dropped our former U. of Texas professor Bob Solomon, perhaps best known for his great original work The Passions or his appearance in the Richard Linklater film, Waking Life. For our Hegel episode, I was clutching tightly to his work explaining it: In the Spirit of Hegel.
One of his central philosophical concerns was Sartre’s view of freedom and responsibility, and his take on existentialism always seemed to climax at that point. Here he is introducing the major themes of existentialism.
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In this audio clip, he lays out themes in Being and Nothingness and explains why the book is such a convoluted read: Sartre read Heidegger but wants to put Heidegger’s insights within the French tradition of focusing on consciousness going back to Descartes.
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So, yes, I stole my analogy of consciousness as a flashlight without the beam from this clip. It comes from Solomon’s series of audio lectures, “No Excuses.”
To experience a guided introduction to Being and Nothingness, please purchase my Close Reading audio on its first pages.