Sartre Studies International 17 (2):1-15 (2011)

Authors
Jacob Rump
Creighton University
Abstract
The paper examines Lévi-Strauss' criticisms of Sartre's conception of dialectical reason and history as presented in the last chapter of La Pensée Sauvage , suggesting that these criticisms are misplaced. Sartre's notion of reason and history in the Critique is much closer to structuralist accounts than Lévi-Strauss seems to recognize, but it differs in placing a strong emphasis on activity and praxis in place of the latter's passive conception of reason. The active role of the inquirer in structuralist thought is examined using Roland Barthes' account of "The Structuralist Activity," which is shown to have important affinities with Sartre's own conception of the relation of structure and praxis in the Critique . I then briefly consider a modified conception of the role of history in structuralism expressed by Lévi-Strauss in the mid-seventies, suggesting that his altered position still fails to recognize the important role of praxis in structuralist accounts of history. I conclude by suggesting that Lévi-Strauss' criticisms are nonetheless important for illustrating the "Critical" character of Sartre's Critique
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DOI 10.3167/ssi.2011.170201
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