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

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Abstract:

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.

Keywords: DIALECTICS; INTEGRATIVE INQUIRY; METHOD; PHENOMENOLOGY; PRAXIS; SARTRE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ssi.2010.160204

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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