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Lévi-Strauss, Barthes, and the "Structuralist Activity" of Sartre's Dialectical Reason

Jacob Rump

The paper examines Lévi-Strauss' criticisms of Sartre's conception of dialectical reason and history as presented in the last chapter of La Pensée Sauvage, suggesting that these criticisms are misplaced. Sartre's notion of reason and history in the Critique is much closer to structuralist accounts than Lévi-Strauss seems to recognize, but it differs in placing a strong emphasis on activity and praxis in place of the latter's passive conception of reason. The active role of the inquirer in structuralist thought is examined using Roland Barthes' account of "The Structuralist Activity," which is shown to have important affinities with Sartre's own conception of the relation of structure and praxis in the Critique. I then briefly consider a modified conception of the role of history in structuralism expressed by Lévi-Strauss in the mid-seventies, suggesting that his altered position still fails to recognize the important role of praxis in structuralist accounts of history. I conclude by suggesting that Lévi-Strauss' criticisms are nonetheless important for illustrating the "Critical" character of Sartre's Critique.

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The Dialectical Identity of Eastern Germans

Joyce Marie Mushaben

the process. 8 The last thirty years have nonetheless witnessed significant reversals of fortune concerning “winner” and “loser” groups. The socialist regime was no stranger to the forces of dialectical materialism. Marxism posited that human history

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Sartre, Kafka and the Universality of the Literary Work

Jo Bogaerts

French existentialism is commonly regarded as the main impetus for the universal significance that Kafka gained in postwar France. A leading critic, Marthe Robert, has contended that this entailed an outright rejection of interest in the biographical, linguistic and historical dimension of Kafka's writing in order to interpret it as a general expression of the human condition. This article will consider this claim in the light of Sartre's original conceptualization of a dialectic of the universal and the particular in the intercultural mediation of the work of art. The notion of a 'true universality' proposed by Sartre as a defence of Kafka during the 1962 Moscow Peace Conference will allow for a reassessment of Robert's criticism in a paradoxical reversal of terms: it is precisely the inevitable loss of context and the appropriation within one's own particular situation which allow the literary work to elucidate a foreign historical context and thereby gain a wider significance. Rather than a universal meaning of the work, Sartre's concept points to literature's potential to continually release specific meanings in new contexts.

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The Dialectical Tradition in South Africa

Chris Allsobrook

The Dialectical Tradition in South Africa by Andrew Nash

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Alienation between the Critique of Dialectical Reason and the Critique of Economic Reason

Sketch of a Materialist Ethics

Chiara Collamati

Translator : Marieke Mueller and Kate Kirkpatrick

of thought (i.e. as practice of philosophy, in both respects of the genitive) is at the heart of Sartre’s writing in the 1960s and is very much crystallised in the production of the Critique of Dialectical Reason . 2 The act of putting reason to

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Whither Hegelian Dialectics in Sartrean Violence?

Jennifer Ang Mei Sze

Sartrean ontological intersubjectivity is often understood to be hostile and conflictive, and Sartrean dialectics is repeatedly interpreted through the lenses of the Hegelian master-slave dyad, translating into a conflictive theory of practical ensembles. Building on this, critics in the aftermath of 9/11 argued that 'terror' and 'revolutionary violence' introduced in Critique of Dialectical Reason as the anti-thesis of oppression underscored his anti-colonial writings and this gives us justification to think that Sartre might consider terrorism a form of revolutionary violence.

With this in mind, this paper does not deal with the bigger issue of Sartre's political position, but only aims to question the basis of reading Hegelian dialectics in Sartre's ontology of intersubjectivity and social ensembles. Revisiting the role of dialectics in his Search for a Method and Critique of Dialectical Reason, it reveals a Sartre who is critical of Hegelian dialectics, and establishes his intersubjectivity as more compatible with Heidegger's being-with-others rather than Hegel's being-for-others.

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Sartre and Engels: The Critique of Dialectical Reason and the Confrontation on the Dialectics of Nature

William L. Remley

In a little remembered event in December 1961, Sartre entered into a debate with Roger Garaudy, as well as other representatives of the Parti Communiste Française (PCF), on the topic of the existence of a universal dialectical law applicable to nature as well as to human thought. In the debate, Sartre seeks to rebut the notion that humankind is merely an “alien addition“ to nature, as Engels maintained, and instead argues that individual subjectivity cannot be reduced to an object of knowledge. This paper highlights the importance of the debate for both sides, but particularly for Sartre and his Critique of Dialectical Reason.

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Sartre, Foucault and the Critique of (Dialectical) Reason

Thomas R. Flynn

“Dialectical” stands in parentheses because I wish to discuss both authors in terms of a critique of reason as such in addition to specifying the issue in terms of their respective assessments of the dialectic. But I shall first consider how each employs the term “critique.” So my remarks will focus on Critique, Reason and Dialectic in that order. Of course, each topic understandably bleeds into the others. In view of the occasion, I shall conclude with a brief sketch of four milestones along Sartre's way from Being and Nothingness to the Critique.

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Sartre’s Integrative Method: Description, Dialectics, and Praxis

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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Sartre and Stalin: Critique of Dialectical Reason, Volume 2

Andrew Dobson

Sartre’s second volume of the Critique of Dialectical Reason1 presents us with an important irony: of all the phenomena of the twentieth century that demand a moral judgement, Stalinism must be near the top of the list – yet such judgement is hard to find in Sartre’s Critique. Part of my task in the following will be to explain this. It is not that moral judgement is wholly absent: Sartre describes the theory and practice of ‘Socialism in One Country’ as a ‘monstrosity’ [CDR2:103] characterised by ‘its uncouth, misguided crudity’ [CDR2:111], and he has no trouble with peremptorily asserting that the Russian Revolution’s good fortune at being pushed through by the ‘Man of Steel’ was matched on the debit side by Stalin’s ‘universal incompetence’ and his ‘dogmatic crudeness’ [CDR2:205].