Pleasure is good, suffering bad. Could any statement be less controversial, or more obvious, than this? In fact, it is so intuitively obvious that it appears as the foundational axiom for religions (Buddhism), moral systems (utilitarianism), and some areas of science (psychology), as well as underwriting the way we interact with and think about other people. But is it possible we are at least partially wrong about this fundamental human preference? In this article, I will explore just this possibility.
Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre share much in common. In addition to the fact that both were heavily influenced by Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, while Sartre was a prisoner of war in World War II, he read Heidegger directly, finding much that would later make its way into his own writings. However, despite the similarities, their overall aims (and therefore the arc of their respective philosophies taken as a whole) were very different. This means that these shared themes and concerns sometimes appear with slightly different nuances in the two philosopher’s writings. This article will identify and briefly explore some of these ideas.