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By bringing nothingness into the world, consciousness does not annihilate the being of things, but changes its relation to it.As bad faith, Sartre describes one's self-deception about the human reality.
To both philosophers, consciousness is intentional, meaning that there is only consciousness of something.
For Sartre, intentionality implies that there is no form of self that is hidden inside consciousness (such as Husserl's transcendental ego).
Every question brings up the possibility of a negative answer, of non-being, e.g. No one." For Sartre, this is how nothingness can exist at all.
Non-being can neither be part of the being-in-itself nor can it be as a complement of it. The relation between being-for-itself and being-in-itself is one of questioning the latter.
Because of the subjectivism and psychologism associated with Sartre's view of consciousness, Being and Nothingness had come to be seen as outdated by the time of Sartre's death in 1980.
Sartre's existentialism shares its philosophical starting point with René Descartes: The first thing we can be aware of is our existence, even when doubting everything else (Cogito ergo sum).
The absence of a friend and absence of money hint at a being of nothingness. In the first chapter, Sartre develops a theory of nothingness which is central to the whole book, especially to his account for bad faith and freedom.
For him, nothingness is not just a mental concept that sums up negative judgements such as "Pierre is not here" and "I have no money".
Born into the material reality of one's body, in a material universe, one finds oneself inserted into being.
In accordance with Husserl's notion that consciousness can only exist as consciousness of something, Sartre develops the idea that there can be no form of self that is "hidden" inside consciousness.