Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Jea Sophia Oh, PhD

Committee Member

Robert Main, PhD

Committee Member

Helen Schroepfer, PhD


This thesis examines Jean-Paul Sartre’s ontology and argues that his conception of consciousness as individuated nothingness is responsible for the discontented human condition he describes. It further argues that this ontology is at variance with our experience, and as such the human condition is not inevitably unhappy. Instead, a phenomenological description of consciousness as transpersonal and full is advanced. A transpersonal ontology of consciousness asserts that consciousnesses are not entirely individuated from one another, but constitutively constructed by “other” consciousnesses, which renders them full. Consciousness as transpersonal leads to a reconceptualization of the subject-other relationship as an I-as-other-other-as-me relationship. Transpersonal consciousness is then employed to re-interpret Sartre’s discontents, and largely resolves the unhappy features of the human condition by leading to the possibility of peaceful relationships with ourselves and harmonious relationships with others.