Rowman and Littlefield International
Sartre, Imagination and Dialectical Reason

Sartre, Imagination and Dialectical Reason

Creating Society as a Work of Art

By Austin Hayden Smidt

Part of the series Reframing the Boundaries: Thinking the Political

Publication Date: Aug 2019

Pages 272


Hardback 9781786611673
£80.00 €112.00 $120.00
Ebook 9781786611680
£29.95 €41.95 $43.95
Not available for pre-order
There are perpetual debates about the extent of freedom in politics. Are we free to choose? Are we overdetermined by our material conditions? Some hybrid between the two? What is more, how are we to comprehend ourselves as creators of history if freedom itself is a problematic concept? And what would it mean if self-comprehension were foreclosed by this problematic? In this text, Austin Hayden Smidt analyzes an oft-overlooked text by Jean-Paul Sartre in order to ground a logical framework for exploring this paradox.

Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre sought to develop an historical and structural heuristic; one that would enable future theorists and activists alike to assess the pressing problems facing the various milieux of capitalist life. Through this heuristic, his intent was to develop an orientation enabling humans to transform their world in their perpetual creation of themselves (and vice versa).

However, the stylistic difficulties of the text, as well as a general agreement among previous interpreters, has prevented the richness of the investigation from taking root. This book sets a new course, and invites further collaboration as – together – we create society as a work of art.


Glossary of Terms

Introduction: Rediscovering Sartre in a Completely Natural Way

Introduction Notes

Part One: The Living Logic of Action in Critique of Dialectical Reason

Chapter 1: Dialectical Reason and the Paradoxico-Critical Orientation of Thought

Chapter 2: Dialectical Logic and The Pervasion of Seriality: Towards a Fresh Reading of Sartreʼs Critique of Dialectical Reason

Chapter 3: The Field of Possibles: the Practico-inert and the Exigency of Objective Conditions

Chapter 4: Pluridimensional Seriality

Chapter 5: Freedom and the Logic of the Group

Part Two: Toward an Imaginative Logic of Action

Chapter 6: The Logic of Poetic Imagination

Chapter 7: A Tale of Two Logics

Chapter 8: Creating Society as a Work of Art

Chapter 9: Prolegomena to Any Future Critique of Political Economy


Conclusion Notes


Austin Hayden Smidt is a political philosopher, producer, writer, podcaster and performer. His research is most concerned with analyzing social life under the conditions of capitalism in order to envision better arrangements. He is the producer of the cinematic adaptation of the best-selling book Inventing the Future and co-host of the Show Me the Meaning and Owls at Dawn podcasts.

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