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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: December 2014

13 - Individuals and groups: Critique of Dialectical Reason


Volume i, Theory of Practical Ensembles

Sartre defends the published order of Search for a Method followed by Critique of Dialectical Reason in his preface to the first edition of the Critique:

I fear that the two works included in this volume may appear to be unequal in importance and scope. Logically, the second should have come before the first, since it is intended to supply its critical foundations. But I was afraid that this mountain of notes might seem to have brought forth a mouse … Moreover, since, the second work did in fact grow from the first, it seemed to preserve the chronological order, which, from a dialectical perspective, is always the most significant.

(CDR 2nd edn., annexe 821)

Given that Sartre later described The Family Idiot as the sequel to Search for a Method, and in view of the numerous references to Flaubert that punctuate both SM and CDR, the question arises whether the progressive-regressive method introduced in SM and soon to be observed in The Family Idiot will map over the dialectic in the Critique – in effect, whether it is synonymous with or at least complementary to the method used in that work.

Bourgault, Jean and de Coorebyter, Vincent, Études Sartriennes no. 12 (Brussels: Ousia, 2008), 5–256