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From In-Itself to Practico-Inert

Freedom, Subjectivity and Progress

Kimberly S. Engels

The practico-inert is a commonly mentioned term in Sartre’s A Critique of Dialectical Reason, Vol. 1 , 1 yet has received only modest attention in analyses of this major work. The concept is as important as it is complex. The shift from Sartre

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Paul Gyllenhammer, Bruce Baugh, and Thomas R. Flynn

The articles in this section deal with two concepts from Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason analyzed in the work of Tom Flynn. The first is the practico-inert, the materialized result of human activity that can turn that activity against itself, but which can also take on a positive and progressive role in history. It is this progressive role that Paul Gyllenhammer analyzes. Bruce Baugh’s article looks at Flynn’s analyses of how, in the Critique, the “third” mediates group praxis in such a way that it moves from passivity to activity but without fusing into a hyperorganism, and how this decisive shift accounts for “the revolutionary moment.”

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Joseph S. Catalano

My goal in writing this article is to give a brief overview of the two volumes of Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason. After a brief introduction, I proceed in three stages that move from the abstract to the concrete. I thus trace the development of such notions as comprehension into the dialectic, praxis into singularity and incarnation, the practico-inert into the totalization-of-envelopment, and the enhancement of the notion of scarcity as a general historical condition into a collective free choice. I also suggest new divisions for Critique II.

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Contemporary "Structures" of Racism

A Sartrean Contribution to Resisting Racial Injustice

Justin I. Fugo

This paper develops an account of racism as rooted in social structural processes. Using Sartre, I attempt to give a general analysis of what I refer to as the “structures” of our social world, namely the practico-inert, serial collectives, and social groups. I then apply this analysis to expose and elucidate “racist structures,” specifically those that are oftentimes assumed to be ‘race neutral’. By highlighting structures of racial oppression and domination, I aim to justify: 1) the imperative of creating conditions free from oppression and domination, over the adherence to ‘ideal’ principles which perpetuate racial injustice; 2) the shared responsibility we have collectively to resist and transform social structural processes that continue to produce racial injustice.

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Paul Gyllenhammer

we are tasked with battling the often unintended consequences of past actions, which are crystallized as practico-inert objects, practices, and social structures. Sartre cites various examples of our attempts to alter nature that end up backfiring

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Christopher Turner

What is counter-finality? Who, or what, is the agent of counter-finality? In the Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre employs a complicated and multivalent notion of counter-finality, the reversal of the finality intended by an agent in different contexts and at different levels of complexity. Sartre's concept of counter-finality is read here as an attempt to rethink and broaden the traditional Marxist notion of commodity fetishism as a tragic dialectic of human history whose final act has yet to play out. The article analyses and explicates Sartre's complex concept of counter-finality, focusing on material antipraxis.

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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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Joseph S. Catalano

I understand Sartre's ontology to develop in three stages: first, through Being and Nothingness and Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr; second, through the Critique of Dialectical Reason; and, finally, as it unfolds in The Family Idiot. Each stage depends upon the former and deepens the original ontology, while still introducing novel elements. For example, in Being and Nothingness, the in-itself, which is the source of our world-making, develops in the Critique into the practico-inert, which is the world made artifact, and in The Family Idiot, both the in-itself and the practico-inert unite to become the Spirit of the Age, joining our adventure with nature to that of our adventure with our family and our history. My reflection will be developed in four stages: first, a general overview; second, a more extended study of what Sartre calls the problematic of human reality; third, a brief reflection on Sartre's methodology; and finally, a concluding survey.

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Editorial

Thinking with Sartre

Edited by John H. Gillespie and Sarah Richmond

, maintaining that perceptual looking sustains the absence of Pierre as intentional look. Kimberly Engels examines Sartre’s transition from the in-itself to the practico-inert, outlines his social and political development and suggests that a revised view of the

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What Would I Do with Lacan Today?

Thoughts on Sartre, Lacan, and Contemporary Psychoanalysis

Betty Cannon

: Who changes? For Sartre, of course, it is the individual subject who effects the change. Sartre, however, would not disagree that the subject is impacted by the exigencies of language as a “practico-inert” field. This is what he meant when he said in