The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Discussion for "Reflections on Violence"

We choose one book per month to read and discuss philosophically as a group.

January 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month: The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt

February 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month: The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese (Nominated by RJG)

March 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month: Final Notice by Van Fleisher

April 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month: The Unbound Soul: A Visionary Guide to Spiritual Transformation and Enlightenment by Richard L. Haight
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Discussion for "Reflections on Violence"

Post by Scott » April 1st, 2008, 11:02 pm

Please use this thread to discuss the April philosophy book of the month, "Reflections on Violence" by Georges Sorel.

What did you think of the book? What was the most memorable idea in it? Please post any comments or questions you have about the book.

I have not read it yet. I will very soon. I will post more once I have finished reading it.
Last edited by Scott on November 8th, 2008, 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Daniel Owen » April 11th, 2008, 3:00 pm

Well I've already read it twice over, so I'd like to make these points --

* Sorel is denouncing "scientific socialism" and it's hubris and conservatism caused by a mechanical view of history, which sees revolution as "pre-determined" and "inevitable." In this sense, Sorel was joining the German revisionists such as Bernstein (tho he violently hated Social Democracy) and laid the foundations for a post-"scientific" socialism. He was also getting back to the roots of the socialist movement.

* In many ways, Sorel was reacting against a trend Murray Rothbard pointed out in radical social movements -- in which radicals move from a "moral" to a "utilitarian" viewpoint of the world, leading to moral and mental stagnation and a conservatism towards the status quo. Rothbard was talking about liberalism, but this applies to the workers' movement where more "moral" and "voluntarist" tendencies had been replaced with "utilitarian" and "scientific" managerial-conservative tendencies (i.e. Social Democracy).

* Sorel for-saw the welfare-state, in which the representatives of the workers acted diplomatically with the capitalist order. We saw just this.

* Sorel rejects the idea that the revolutionary potential of working people lies in our "poverty" or "oppression" but in our creative abilities and individuality -- he rejects the "politics of oppression" that characterise the Left (and anarchists).

* Sorel rejected State-socialism for Syndicalism, which he considered anti-authoritarian and the only road towards the abolition of the State. He had a anarchist analysis of State-socialists, saying that increased statism to get rid of the State was stupid (Noam Chomsky would do well to read Sorel! ;) )

I wrote a review on my blog, contrasting "Reflections on Violence" to a modern anti-globalisation tract by Naomi Klein: ... cracy.html
"What does not kill me, makes me stronger." Friedrich Nietzsche

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