Humanism and Terror: The Communist Problem
Raymond Aron called Merleau-Ponty "the most influential French philosopher of his generation." First published in France in 1947, Humanism and Terror was in part a response to Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon, and in a larger sense a contribution to the political and moral debates of a postwar world suddenly divided into two ideological armed camps. For Merleau-Ponty, the central question was: could Communism transcend its violence and intentions?
The value of a society is the value it places upon man's relation to man, Merleau-Ponty examines not only the Moscow trials of the late thirties but also Koestler's re-creation of them. He argues that violence in general in the Communist world can be understood only in the context of revolutionary activism. He demonstrates that it is pointless to ask whether Communism respects the rules of liberal society; it is evident that Communism does not.
In post-Communist Europe, when many are addressing similar questions throughout the world, Merleau-Ponty's discourse is of prime importance; it stands as a major and provocative contribution to limits on the use of violence. The argument is placed in its current context in a brilliant new introduction by John O'Neill. His remarks extend the line of argument originally developed by the great French political philosopher. This is a major contribution to political theory and philosophy.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, until his death in 1961, held the Chair of Philosophy at the Collge de France. He was recognized as both an authentic and profoundly original disciple of Husserlian phenomenology, and a major figure in the development of existential thought. John O'Neill, who has prepared this accurate and well-written translation, is professor of sociology at York University, Ontario, Canada. Educated at the London School of Economics, Notre Dame, and Stanford, he is translator of Jean Hyppolite's Studies on Marx and Hegel and author of Perception, Expression and History.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
absolute accused action ambiguity become believe Bolsheviks bourgeois Bukharin capitalism class struggle collaborators collectivization Commissar communism compromise condemned conscience consciousness consequences contingency counter-revolutionary counterrevolutionary crimes criticism Darkness at Noon death decision defense democracy dialectic dictatorship economic ethics existence fact fascism force freedom French future Gaullism Gletkin Hegel human Ibid idea ideology individual innocent involves Koestler kulaks least Lenin liberal liberty live logic Marx Marxist politics masses means moral Moscow Trials never objective once opposition ourselves Perhaps philosophy of history possible present principle problem proletariat propaganda question reality reason recognized refuses regime relations remain revolution revolutionary risk role Rubashov Russian sense simply situation social socialist society Soviet speak spontaneous Stalin Stalinist standpoint subjective tariat Terror things thought tion tory transcended Trotsky truth understand universal V. I. Lenin values Victor Serge violence vyshinsky White Guard world proletariat Yogi