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Grant number: RO-10547-70

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University of California, Riverside (Riverside, CA 92521-0001)
John L. Stanley (Project Director: January 1970 to present)

The Political Philosophy of Georges Sorel

Study of Georges Sorel's writings and papers for a balanced examination of his political philosophy. Most works to date deal primarily with Sorel's anarchy and socialism; this study will concern itself with his yardstick of virtue also. PI will apply Sorel's analysis to various radical movements during 20th century. ABSTRACT: Grant to fund examination of Georges Sorel's writings and papers at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, to enable PI to write and publish a balanced study of Sorel's political philosophy. American readers most familiar with Sorel's Reflection on Violence, one of few works in English translation, which gives only a narrow view, focusing on Sorel's anarchism and socialism. Work will explore Sorel's yardstick of virtue, the ancient citizen-soldier of pre-Socratic Greece--excellence combines courage, self-sacrifice and devotion to duty with routine. Sorel's thought basically pragmatic--ancient morality pragmatic in practice, not tied to abstract doctrines but to practical need of city to defend self; speculative philosophy a corrupting influence. Sorel applies ancient virtues to modern industrial-scientific society--creative excellence found in struggle of producers against forces of parasitism (absentee owners) and intellectualism; routinization of production combined with scientific process in industry. Sorel useful as framework of analysis, relevant for understanding of social movements. PI to apply Sorel'as analysis to Chinese cultural rebellion, black movement, student revolt. In an age and nation where violence and radical social movments are grave concern, such a study is essential, espeically since such a balanced study would off-set the popularized concept of Sorel now prevalent among radical and violent elements. Funds for travel and living expenses.

Project fields:
Philosophy, General; Political Science, General

Basic Research

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$3,317 (approved)
$3,317 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/1970 – 9/30/1970