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From Critique of Dialectical Reason. Jean-Paul Sartre. Critique of Critical Investigation. 1 The Basis of Critical Investigation. We know the abstract. Critique of Dialectical Reason is a book by the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, in which the author further develops the existentialist Marxism he first  Published in English‎: ‎ (vol. 1); (vol. 2). along Sartre's way from Being and Nothingness to the Critique. The Critique of Dialectical Reason has not received the recognition it deserves among scholars.


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In order to transcend the ironically binary categories of both idealistic and materialistic dialects, and to avoid universalism, a big concern in France at the time with the emergence of Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Lacan, etc while also avoiding relativism, which critique of dialectical reason argued Foucault among others will guilty of Sartre is forced to create an army of specialized terms to equip him to proceed with his inquiry.

It critique of dialectical reason sprawling and loosely organized monster of a book. Luckily, the editing work has included a decent glossary of terms, a much better one is included in Vol.

The Glossary is crucial, and it makes sense for a committed reader which is the only type of reader who has any hope of finishing this book to buy Vol.

Critique of Dialectical Reason | work by Sartre |

Length and difficulty aside this is an astounding and important work that cannot be critique of dialectical reason. Sartre's formal aim was to establish the dialectical intelligibility of history itself, as what he called 'a totalisation without a totaliser'.

For the present, we are concerned only with original intelligibility. This intelligibility — the translucidity of the dialectic cannot arise if one merely proclaims dialectical laws, like Engels and Naville, unless each of these laws is presented as a mere sketch, revealing the dialectic as a totality.


The rules of positivist Reason appear as separate instructions unless this Reason is envisaged as a limiting case of dialectical Reason and from its point of view. Thus the basic intelligibility of dialectical Reason, if it exists, is that of a totalisation. In other words, in terms of our distinction between critique of dialectical reason and knowledge, a dialectic exists if, critique of dialectical reason at least one ontological region, a totalisation is in progress which is immediately accessible to a thought which unceasingly totalises itself in its very comprehension of the totalisation from which it emanates and which makes itself its object.

Critique of Dialectical Reason - Wikipedia

It has often been observed that the laws stated critique of dialectical reason Hegel and his disciples do not at first seem intelligible; taken in isolation, they may even seem false or gratuitous. Hyppolite has shown convincingly that the negation of the negation — if this schema critique of dialectical reason envisaged in itself — is not necessarily an affirmation.

Similarly, at first glance, the opposition between contradictories does not seem to be necessarily the motive force of the dialectical process. Hamelin, for example, based his whole system on the opposition between contraries.

Or, to give another example, it is difficult to see how a new reality, transcending contradictions while preserving them within itself, can be both irreducible to them and intelligible in terms of them.

Each of these so called dialectical laws becomes perfectly intelligible when seen from the point of view of totalisation. It is therefore necessary for the critical investigation to ask the fundamental question: A totality is defined as a being which, critique of dialectical reason radically distinct from the sum of its parts, is present in its entirety, in one form or another, in each of these parts, and which relates to itself either through its relation to one or more of its parts or through its relation to the relations between all or some of them.

If this reality is created a painting or a symphony are examples, if one takes integration to an extremeit can exist only in the imaginary l'imaginairethat is to say, as the correlative of an act of imagination.

Critique of Dialectical Reason, Vol 1: Theory of Practical Ensembles

The ontological status to which it lays claim by its very definition is that of the in-itself, critique of dialectical reason inert.

The synthetic unity which produced its appearance of totality is not an activity, but only the critique of dialectical reason of a past action just as the unity of a medallion is the passive remnant of its being struck. Through its being-in-exteriority, the inertia of the in-itself gnaws away at this appearance of unity; the passive totality is, in fact, eroded by infinite divisibility.

Laing and David Cooper consider the Critique of Dialectical Reason an attempt to provide a dialectical basis for a structural anthropology, and to establish through a critique of dialectical reason approach the limits of dialectical reason. In critique of dialectical reason view, Sartre gives such a generalized account of revolutionary organization that he ignores the real difficulties of groups engaging in common action without infringing the freedom of their individual members.

In his view, neither Sartre's view that freedom must be safeguarded in revolutionary organization nor his view that there will be perfect freedom when Communism has abolished shortages is new in a Marxist context, and Sartre fails to explain how either could have been brought about.

To suppose that the book might actually fulfill the promise offered by its title is in fact a gross impertinence.