|dc.description.abstract||The methodological and epistemological features of Sartre's
philosophy are not consistent with his atheism. Heidegger (1978)
alluded to this when rejecting Sartre's reference to him as an
atheist . As Heidegger says, the existential analysis of human
beings neither affirms nor denies the existence of God.
Existentialism defends a position which is "closed", leading to
some form of agnosticism (Dondeyne, 1962). The roots of
existentialist atheism can be traced to the Cartesian "principle of
immanentism" (Fabro, 1964). The principle is defective and any
atheism arrived at via it must be refuted (ibid). There are two
agnostic implications from gnoseological-immanentism" in Sartre's
philosophy and one from phenomenology.
A historical explication of gnoseological--immanentism from
Descartes to Sartre reveals the agnostic implications inherent in
rationalism, British empiricism, Kantian thought, and in
phenomenology due to the epistemological deficiencies of that
The first agnostic implication is the gnoseological- immanentism
manifestin Sartre's ontology especially in being and nothingness.
The "reduction of the existent to the series of appearances which
manifest it" CBN;xxi) and an implicit phenomenological reduction of
meanings, make Sartre' s phenomenol ogi cal ontology inadequate when dealing with the transphenomenal CLafarge, 1970;32).
Snoseological-immanentism in taking concrete and immediate
experience 1\. s,-'preme, coupled with a shunning of inference, lead
Sartre's philosophy into metaphysical naivete. Hence, the position
is a closed one and should lead to agnosticism and not atheism.
Even though Sartre followed Heidegger out of purely descriptive
phenomenology to the deciphering of concealed meanings, he had no intention to abandon the most basic tenet of phenomenology; that
the source and final test of knowledge is the intuition of
phenomena. This is the case at least until the critique of dialectical Reason .However, search for a method which was originally written as a preface to the former is a primer in xistential/phenomenological methodology.
Metaphysical questions are "system strange" (Farber,
1943;566) because phenomenology contains a naivete in relation to
methods that function indirectly, i.e. inference. The existence of
God, therefore, can neither be affirmed nor denied within a
phenomenological scope. It was erroneous in procedure for Sartre to
have taken an atheist stand within his "phenomenological ontology"
and us.d it as a premise for a similar stand in his
Gnoseological-immanentism commits the cartesian error of trying to
proceed from a sole principle and fact, i.e., subjective
c:onsciousness. It falls into the "illusion of immanence" (Dondeyne,
1962;103) by conceiving the immediate objects of knowledge as
immanent in the mind. Percepts and concepts are not taken as
medium guo or "instruments" within and at the service of which
cognitive intention bears out towards reality (Ibid).
In relation to phenomenology, a philosophical problem should
be tackled appropriately, and every method has its appropriate or
"proper questions" and there are "system strange" questions with
respect to it. The co-operation of various philosophical methods is
therefore vital in the quest for knowledge.||en_US