In , the French essayist Julien Benda published his famous attack on the intellectual corruption of the age, La Trahison des clercs. I said “famous,” but. Julien Benda’s classic study of s Europe resonates today. The “treason of the intellectuals” is a phrase that evokes much but is inherently ambiguous. Julien Benda (26 December – 7 June ) was a French philosopher and novelist. He remains famous for his short book, La Trahison des Clercs (The Tr.

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Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University’s proxy server Configure custom proxy use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy. Commercialisation of our talents in research and analysis did not make us any more relevant, just richer. Only as I matured did I realise that what we were doing was letting someone else – particularly if they had deep pockets – define what constituted a significant intsllectuals problem.

Re-entering that magical sphere, I recalled this piece by Julien Benda. Julien Benda – – W. Eddy – – Modern Philosophy 4: Spinoza’s ethics is often proposed as a method of establishing a social anarchy of post-modern experience. In other inyellectuals Wikiquote. Not that the political Right, or even politics generally, have a monopoly on intellectual hypocrisy. Here again, the anthropological imperative has played a major role.

When hatred of culture becomes itself a part of culture, the life of the mind loses all meaning. Views Read Edit View history. What Benda found novel was the accreditation of such cynicism by intellectuals. Julien Benda – – G. According to Benda I should receive no mercy: Today we are trying to spread knowledge everywhere. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. The problem here is that it is claimed reasonable to place blame on the intellectual for their social interpretation regardless of their goal.


At one point early in my career I was a member of an academic institute at the University of Pennsylvania.

Julien Benda, The Betrayal of the Intellectuals – PhilPapers

Jan rated it it was amazing Mar 16, Want to Read saving…. Si istoria va zimbi la gindul ca Socrate si Iisus Cristos au murit pentru aceasta specie. Enlightenment looks to culture as a repository of values that transcend the self, postmodernism looks to the fleeting desires of the isolated self as the only legitimate source of value.

The Introduction is written in the style of some sort of Straussian cant and is a complete waste of time. From the savage flowering of ethnic hatreds in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to the mendacious demands for political correctness and multiculturalism on college campuses across America and Europe, the treason of the intellectuals continues to play out its unedifying drama. Nor did he believe that intellectuals, as citizens, necessarily should abstain from political commitment or practical affairs.

I wondered if the author would clarify more in detail how to address these interpretations, but he never does. This article includes a list of referencesbut its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Julien Benda 26 December — 7 June was a French philosopher and novelist.

Partisan in its claims for disinterestedness, it is ruthless in its defense of intellectual high-mindedness. And this brings us to the question of freedom.

Outis rated it really liked it Jun 09, This page was last edited on 19 Decemberat In this sense, the book is a trahison des clercs for the post-Communist world, a world dominated as much by the leveling imperatives of pop culture as by resurgent nationalism and ethnic separatism.

Born into a Jewish family in ParisBenda became a master of French belles-lettres. During the XIXth century, Europe embraced gruesome stories and abandoned reason. The disintegration of faith in reason and common humanity leads not only to a destruction of standards, but also involves a crisis of courage.


This fraud is the dirty secret that our cultural commissars refuse to acknowledge. Julien Benda – – Journal of Philosophy 26 1: The Treason of the Intellectuals. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Jul 03, BlackOxford rated it really liked it Shelves: In other words, the real treason of the intellectuals was not that they jylien Callicles but that they championed him.

The treason of the intellectuals & “The Undoing of Thought”

The problem is not one of practice and professional error but one of ideals. Retrieved from ” https: Who is going to think outside the box, and want something moral and truthful and meaningful for all? Translated betfayal Richard Aldington. It was translated into English in by Richard Aldington ; the U. Still, there is something respectable about pointing this out, and it would seem to me that in a modern world, this is the kind of argument that is often offered in opposition to scientifically and ethically relativist postmodernist propositions.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. According to Benda, this all began to change in the early twentieth century. If this book is reported as a work of a ‘clerc’, then it is a failure. Paperbackpages. Moreover, Benda survived the German occupation of France, —, and the Vichy regime despite being a Jew and having called the Germans “one of the plagues of the world”.

In the broadest terms, The Undoing of Thought is a brief for the principles of the Enlightenment. The real damage done by a man like Trump is that he incites all around him to forget entirely that there are such things as ideals.