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Sartre As A Social Critic

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Chapter Summary

Sartre is important because we need urgently a properly philosophical approach to sociology. Inquiring what kinds of concepts are appropriate in the tasks of describing and explaining human life is urgent in a discipline where it is all too easy to borrow the concepts of the physical sciences uncritically. Sartre distinguishes sharply in his latest work between Marx and Engels; his Marx is a young Hegelian rather than an old economist. Sartre elevates Marx above all other social scientists because of two features of contemporary non-Marxist social science to which he objects. The first is its positivism, its assimilation of sociology to the natural sciences. The attempt to describe people as though they were subject to causal laws in the same way that things are omits that very consciousness which Sartre sees as transcending what it is by grasping it.

Keywords:Engels; Marx; natural science; physical sciences; positivism; Sartre



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