Dialectic and Structure in Jean‐Paul Sartre and Claude Levi‐Strauss

Dialectica 32 (2):165-184 (1978)
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The things themselves, which only the limited brains of men and animals believe fixed and stationary, have no real existence at all. They are the flashing and sparks of drawn swords, the glow of victory in the conflict of opposing qualities. SummaryThe conflicts between the eristentialism of Jean‐Paul Sartre and the structuralism of Claude Lévi‐Strauss present a privileged site for illuminating larger conflicts in the human studies as a whole. The present paper argues that a method for addressing and perhaps resolving thes conflicts can be drawn from the respective logics of existentialism and structuralism. The essay begins by discussing the dialectical social theory of lean‐Paul Sartre and then, after treating Lévi‐Strauss's theory of structure, goes on to argue that dialectical thought generates structures, and that structuralism invites a dialectical method of construction. While an integration of methods along these lines does not constitute an integrated social theory, it can remove an important obstacle to the development of such theory.



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References found in this work

Social Theory and Social Structure.Lawrence Haworth - 1961 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 11 (44):345-346.
A grammar of motives.Kenneth Burke - 1945 - Berkeley,: University of California Press.
The Savage Mind.Alasdair MacIntyre & Claude Levi-Strauss - 1967 - Philosophical Quarterly 17 (69):372.
Structuralism.Jean Piaget - 1970 - New York,: Basic Books.
L'Etre et le Néant.J. Sartre - 1946 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 1 (1):75-78.

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