Chapter

Pacifism

Richard Crockatt

in Einstein and Twentieth-Century Politics

Published in print October 2016 | ISBN: 9780198785491
Published online October 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191827402 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198785491.003.0004
Pacifism

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This chapter discusses the relationship between the various strands of Einstein’s political beliefs and the question of whether there was one underlying value or principle. Einstein’s distaste for nationalism and resistance to the idea of exclusive citizenship lay at the basis of his political philosophy, which had its roots in temperament and youthful experience as much as intellectual argument. In the discussion of his pacifism in the First World War and the decade of the 1920s, followed by his apparent retreat from unconditional pacifism with the rise of Hitler, it is argued that Einstein’s value system was pluralistic. The trajectory of Einstein’s pacifism reinforces the conclusion that there is no single foundational premiss among Einstein’s values. Einstein’s commitment was always to a cluster or virtuous circle of values.

Keywords: pacifism; values; distaste for nationalism; citizenship; pluralistic value system

Chapter.  10996 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Intellectual History ; Political History

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