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Matthew C. Ally

This essay revisits the question of Sartre's method with particular emphasis on the posthumously published Notebooks for an Ethics, Critique of Dialectical Reason (Volume II), and “Morale et histoire.” I argue that Sartre's method—an ever-evolving though never seamless blend of phenomenological description, dialectical analysis, and logical inference—is at once the seed and fruit of his mature ontology of praxis. Free organic praxis, what Sartre more than once calls “the human act,” is neither closed nor integral, but is rather intrinsically open-ended and integrative. Thus a philosophical method that seeks at once to illuminate human experience and human history must itself be both a reflection and inflection of the essential openness and integrativity of praxis itself. In the conclusion, I argue that the openness and integrativity of Sartre's method are its core strengths and the sources of its continued philosophical worth.

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Matthew C. Ally

Joseph S. Catalano, Reading Sartre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 213pp., $25.99 (paperback) ISBN 978-0-521-15227-3; $85.00 (cloth) ISBN 978-0-521-76646-3

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Matthew C. Ally

Are these papers about intellectuals? Or are they about racism and colonialism? Are they about Sartre or Fanon or Derrida? “Risks of Engagement” is the title of the panel for which these papers were originally presented. We should think about that. Bruce Baugh quotes Simon Critchley: “Derrida can give no account, in terms of his own philosophical positions, of why he made just the ‘gamble’ he did.” No he cannot, not in terms of his own philosophical positions, nor in terms of anyone else’s.