Barbarous Philosophers: Reflections on the Nature of War From Heraclitus to Heisenberg

Overview

From Heraclitus in the sixth century B.C.E. to the twentieth-century philosopher-physicist Werner Heisenberg, intellectuals have struggled to make sense of war and its presence in human society. Yet Christopher Coker contends that philosophers are the ones who created the concept of war, largely by defining its rules and establishing an oppositional dialectic of peace. The Greeks were the first to outline what Blaise Pascal called the "rules of war," and through their description of its "nature," influenced the ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $10.95   
  • New (1) from $60.00   
  • Used (5) from $10.95   
Sending request ...

Overview

From Heraclitus in the sixth century B.C.E. to the twentieth-century philosopher-physicist Werner Heisenberg, intellectuals have struggled to make sense of war and its presence in human society. Yet Christopher Coker contends that philosophers are the ones who created the concept of war, largely by defining its rules and establishing an oppositional dialectic of peace. The Greeks were the first to outline what Blaise Pascal called the "rules of war," and through their description of its "nature," influenced the thinking of contemporary generals and military strategy.

Nevertheless, Coker's book focuses less on the philosophical underpinnings of war and more on the particular problems we face while fighting war today. Guided by the work of sixteen major thinkers, it examines several paradoxes of combat: the belief that war is a continuation, rather than a negation, of politics by other means; the idea that we should respect those who don't respect us; the notion that war can help a soldier reaffirm his humanity; and the odd fact that the concept of peace is still contested. Coker draws on the work of philosophers who have tackled war directly and intensely in their writing. Each chapter begins with an epigram distilling the essence of a chosen philosopher's thinking on war and uses it as a prism through which to analyze aspects of war most relevant to contemporary combat. Barbarous Philosophers entirely reorients our understanding of armed conflict throughout human history.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement - Kenneth Payne

Throughout, this book fizzes with ideas. Coker is inventive, imaginative and erudite...a fascinating window on different cultures' understanding of war.

Times Literary Supplement
Throughout, this book fizzes with ideas. Coker is inventive, imaginative and erudite...a fascinating window on different cultures' understanding of war.

— Kenneth Payne

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231701983
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2010
  • Series: Columbia/Hurst Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Coker is professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and adjunct professor at the Staff College in Oslo. He is the author of many books on defense and security issues, including The Warrior Ethos: Military Culture and the War on Terror and Human Warfare.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)