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My Notes on Massive Open Online Course:
The Great War and Modern Philosophy
Learn how philosophers responded to the First World War and how the war changed philosophical reflection.
Notes on 9 Lectures I Watched in This Course:
Carl von Clausewitz: On War
The Nature of Colonialism Wars
1916 Zurich and Perspectives on the Great War
The Necessity of War in Politics
Eucken's Interpretation of Fichte
Husserl, the Great War, and the Meaning of Death
Henri Bergson on WWI Germany and France
Hermann Cohen on Judentum and Deutschtum during WWI
Hodgson and Reinach on Foreboding
1 People I Have Learned About in this Course:
Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831)
Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the moral, psychological, and political aspects of war in his book "On War" ("Vom Kriege")
  • a realist and, while in some respects a romantic, also drew heavily on the rationalist ideas of the European Enlightenment
  • stressed the dialectical interaction of diverse factors, noting how unexpected developments unfolding under the "fog of war", that in the face of incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement, nevertheless call for rapid decisions by alert commanders
  • he argued that war could not be quantified or reduced to mapwork, geometry, and graphs
  • "War is the continuation of politics by other means."
3 Vocabulary Words I Learned in this Course:
Manichean, adj. [man-ih-KEE-an] of or relating to a dualistic view of the world, dividing things into either good or evil, light or dark, black or white, involving no shades of gray, named after Manes (216-276 CE), the Persian founder of Manichaeism, a religion which espoused a doctrine of a struggle between good and evil.  "Sartre argued that colonialism is cosmological in the sense that it produces a universe, fundamentally a Manichean universe, which posits an anthropological break in that it creates and depends on the constitution of a difference between the human and the other-than-human, or the inhuman."
mimesis, n. from the Ancient Greek μίμησις, the imitative representation of nature and human behavior, imitation of another's gestures and actions  "In the concept of war as antagonism, there is a natural dynamic which tends toward escalation of ever more extreme uses of force and violence which include three aspects: (1) reciprocity, (2) loss of control, and a (3) mimetic principle in which antagonistic parties will imitate each other in a competitive relationship which leads to a natural escalation of violence towards an extreme."
salient, n. a piece of land or section of fortification that juts out to form an angle  "The front line of World War I formed a salient surrounding Ypres on three sides, and this area saw some fof the most bitter and contested fighting during the war."