I have been looking into some resources explaining Husserl's idea of transcendence and they point out that Sartre's idea of transcendence is based on Husserl's. Here are the different aspects/ideas of which I believe I understand about transcendence:

1. Transcendence is a universal(property) of something that can not be exhausted by the mind or confined to stay as mental object that is restricted to a single mental act. Such as imagining a "red" ball. The universal "red" is not exhausted no matter how many times we use it to think of red objects.

2.Transcendence is contrasted with Immanence. In the Dictionary of Existentialism by Hayim Gordon, Immanence is described as something that "refers to the facticity of a situation" and transcendence is the being-for-itself 's ability to change, be dynamic, and continually redefining its self which works with our facticity to create change. So basically I see transcendence as a kind of human will in some sense, that allows us to the opportunity to change facticity and thus define our Freedom

3 In the glossary of Being and Nothingness, transcendence is in part described as "If I make an object out of the Other, then he is,for me a transcendence-transcended. On the other hand, the Being-in­-itself which overflows all its appearances and all attempts of mine to grasp it is called a transcendent Being. " Here I gather that transcendence is seeing the Other as a Being that exists separate from my consciousness.

Can you please provide me with a more unifying definition or just how these different ideas relate? And if I am wrong, correct away.

My man issue is that I don't understand in what sense is transcendence being used in the Bad Faith section(page 109):

"this doubly negative atti­tude rests On the transcendent; the fact expressed is transcendent since it does not exist, and the original negation rests on a truth; that is, on a particular type of transcendence. "

How can something not existing play a role in it being transcendent? And how is it exactly transcendence/immanence relate to Being-for-itself/Being-in-itself?

Here is a link to the pdf of the book:http://www.dhspriory.org/kenny/PhilTexts/Sartre/BeingAndNothingness.pdf

Thanks in advance. I appreciate it.

  • For Sartre's Being and Nothingness, you can see Paul Vincet Spade's Notes; unfortunately, the comment on Bad Faith (page 133) does not seem relevant to your point. Apr 10, 2016 at 7:11
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA Yes I'm aware of Spade's Notes, in fact that is one of the resources I've been using. But thanks for the input, I'll reread some parts with your explanation in mind.
    – Bunny
    Apr 10, 2016 at 20:06
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA Also are you aware of any other online resources available on B&N?
    – Bunny
    Apr 10, 2016 at 20:07
  • Not necessarily online: Joseph Catalano, A Commentary on Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness (1974). For bad faith and transcendence, see footnote page 79. Apr 11, 2016 at 7:14

1 Answer 1


For Sartre's Being and Nothingness, we can see Paul Vincet Spade's Notes; unfortunately, the comment on Bad Faith (page 133) does not seem relevant to the point.

For the pair "immanence"/"transcendence" see Spade, page 37:

what is “immanent” is mind-dependent. The correlative opposite, “transcendence”, means: not wholly contained in the mind, not really inhering in, not really a characteristic of, the mental act.

So [...], the pair of terms “immanence”/“transcendence” means roughly “in the mind”/“outside the mind.”

This explanation fits with your point 1.

Bad faith is connected to lie, and thus to kowledge and truth/falshood [Sartre, page 48].

But it differs from lie in that bad faith is lying to one's self: it is a conscious assertion of a falsehood.

Lie is in relation with the "reality" outside of the consciousness; thus it is based on transcendence.

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