Shame in the Philosophical Narrative of the Pour-Soi: On Sartre’s Being and Nothingness

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This paper discusses the relevance and the conceptual role, within Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, of a fleeting impression of shame that reverts the threat of solipsism looming over any project of transcendental philosophy. In reading Sartre’s masterpiece, I underscore two methodological points that tend to be bypassed in standard interpretations and lengthy discussions of the book. On the one hand, I safeguard the strictly descriptive core of Sartre’s presentation of the impression of shame and what it reveals about the formal structures of the (pre-reflective) cogito, as Sartre understands it. On the other hand, my analysis explores the different phases of the (conceptual) narrative of the For-Itself, which Sartre inherits from the Idealist tradition in modern philosophy and applies to the concreteness of a phenomenological description of the main stages of one’s experience of the outside world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-378
Number of pages20
JournalResearch in Phenomenology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Pour-soi
  • Pre-reflective cogito
  • Reification
  • Sartre
  • Shame


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