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A Commentary on Jean-Paul Satre's Critique of Dialectical by Joseph S. Catalano

By Joseph S. Catalano

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A sudden zest, a new appetite for the concrete" (2 1 ) . 31 Marxism and Existential ism hypostasized abstraction . There are, he s ays , only "philosophies . " Neverthe­ less, in certain historical situations in which a specified kind of totalization clarifies the self-consciousness of the rising class , a philosophy e xists for that time. Since the s ixteenth century, we have had the philosophies of Descartes and Locke , Kant and Hegel , and , finally, Marx . "At the time of the noblesse du robe and of mercantile capitalism , a bourgeoisie of law yers , merchant s, and bankers gai ned a certain self-awareness through Cartesiani sm; a century and a half later, in the primitive stages of industrialization , a bourgeoisie of manufacturers , engineers , and scientists dimly discovered itself in the image of universal man which Kantianism offered to it" (Method.

I answer frankly: yes " (Ghost, 8 1 ) . Sartre 's concern here , as in the l atter third of Critique I, is to u ncover the " reason s " why Soviet communism became alienated from its original goals. The implication in Sartre 's analysis is that the Soviet Union could and should have developed a socialism superior to Western capitalism . The background to Sartre 's analysis of the difference between a " suc­ cessfu l " bourgeois capitalism and democracy and a socialism that has failed was also integrated into the last third of Critique 1 and was to become a sub­ stantive part of the Critique II.

S . R . is worth neither more nor less than capi­ talist England , then , indeed , not much is left to us except to cultivate our garden . In order to preserve hope , precisely the opposite must be done: to recognize , through and beyond er­ rors , monstrosities and crimes , the obvious privileges of the socialist camp and to condemn with all the more force the policy which endangers these privileges . reveals the relation of praxis to " inertia," and to what in the Critique he calls the " practico-inert .

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