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Search for a Method Mass Market Paperback – August 12, 1968

ISBN-13: 978-0394704647 ISBN-10: 0394704649

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Search for a Method + Critique of Dialectical Reason, Vol. 2 (Volume 2) + Being and Nothingness
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (August 12, 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394704649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394704647
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Novelist, playwright, and biographer Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-80) is widely considered one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. His major works include "No Exit," "Nausea," "The Wall," "The Age of Reason," "Critique of Dialectical Reason," "Being and Nothingness," and "Roads to Freedom," an allegory of man's search for commitment, and not, as the man at the off-licence says, an everyday story of French country folk.

Customer Reviews

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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Charles Comer on July 2, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As the quote on the cover suggests, this may very well be "the most important work of Sartre's to be translated since Being and Nothingness." To be sure, The Critique of Dialectical Reason may be also, or even The Family Idiot. But it must also be recalled that Search for a Method, while first published as an occasional piece for a Czech journal, was latter published as the introduction to The Critique, and, moreover, Sartre states that The Family Idiot is in fact the sequel to Search in the preface of the former tome. Indeed, both of these works are much more comprehensible after having read Search. The reason being is that Search outlines the method and general strategy utilized in both of those books (and in Saint Genet to some extent even though it came out prior). The method is of course the progressive regressive method and the strategy is a quasi anthropology mixed occasionally with a new hybrid of existential psychoanalysis. As the two major works that came out of Search can attest - those being The Critique and FI - his method is equally accessible to both large scale cultural descriptions (the Critique) and in depth profiles of a single individual. The former case asks 'what are the conditions that have created modern western man as we know him,' the latter asks what are the conditions that have created this particular individual.'
For those who are aquainted with Sartre's earlier existential writings, this kind of thinking may seem altogether foreign. The old Sartre would have been loathe to suggest any form of conditioning or that one has been made in some way or other. But, this is part of the reason why many feel he abandoned his existentialism. I, on the other hand, do not feel that he did at all.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Search for a Method" was originally intended as a postcript to the 1960 "Critique of Dialectical Reason," but it became the intro & then was published separately. Its thesis, "Cultural order is irreducible to natural order," forms the basis for an examination of contemporary Marxism, which Sartre calls "arrested." Between "Being and Nothingness" and the often puzzling posthumous material, this is the best and most concise intro to Sartre by Sartre. Kudos to Professor Barnes for another outstanding translation!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Martin on September 20, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most people are aware that Western Marxism (Lukács, Gramsci, et al.) and the so-called 'Frankfurt School' (Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, e.g.) significantly differ from the 'theories' and policies that emanated from the 'all-knowing' seers in the Soviet Union and Red China. But most people do not remember Existential Marxism; while those who do regard it merely as a type of Western Marxism. But that is not entirely correct. (Nor is it entirely wrong; after all, the best short definition of Western Marxism is that it is the Marxism that takes philosophy seriously.) Sartre and Merleau-Ponty were often quite critical of both the USSR and and also some aspects of Western Marxism (Lukács, e.g.) in their various Marxist works.

So, what is Existential Marxism? It is an open-ended philosophy that rejects both the 'utopianism' of the classless society (understood as some final state of human history, i.e., a 'final totalization') and at the same time rejects, avant la lettre, the nihilism of postmodernism. Sartre says, "if such a thing as a Truth can exist in anthropology, it must be a truth that has become, and it must make itself a totalization." He understands that "such a totalization is perpetually in process as History and historical Truth." No totalization, no state of affairs, is permanent; this means that both the dogmas of diamat and the marxisant superstitions regarding some utopian future are categorically rejected.

Dialectics is either a practical explanation of contemporary circumstances or it will be frozen in some totalization that eventually no longer applies. This last, both fortunately and unfortunately, has always turned out to be the history of really existing Marxism.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
a classic. read it. or you could just go surfing.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Professor Barnes easily makes clear Satre's works even through his haze of Extentialism. As Sartre gave us his posture of dialectical materialism, Professor Barnes clearly explains Sartre. Thank you Professor Barnes, and, do it again and again, please.
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