This article focuses on Sartre’s concept of the practicoinert
in his major work A Critique of Dialectical Reason, Vol. 1
(CDR). I first show the progression from Sartre’s previous conception
of in-itself to his concept of practico-inert. I identify five different
layers of the practico-inert: human-made objects, language,
ideas, social objects and class being. I show how these practico-inert
layers form the possibilities for our subjectivity and how this represents
a change from Sartre’s view of in-itself in Being and Nothingness.
I then explore the relationship of freedom to the practico-inert
and how Sartre argues that the practico-inert places limits on our
freedom. Lastly, I argue that despite the pessimistic picture Sartre
paints in CDR, the practico-inert has the potential to both limit and
enhance our freedom. I appeal to Sartre’s post-CDR essay ‘A Plea
for Intellectuals’ to argue that a Sartrean account of progress
requires the utilisation of the practico-inert.