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« Tim Crane on Non-Existence | Main | Gary L. Francione on Animal Abolitionism »

September 28, 2012

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Patrick S. O'Donnell

The philosophical aspects of Gandhi's thought are well-treated in several books (keeping in mind that Gandhi was not a systematic thinker nor thought of himself as a philosopher as we would use that term today):

Bhikhu Parekh’s Gandhi’s Political Philosophy: A Critical Examination (1989), Margaret Chatterjee’s Gandhi’s Religious Thought (1983), and especially, Raghavan Iyer’s nonpareil study, The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi (1st ed., 1973; 2nd ed., 1983). Iyer's book also treats the metaphysical presuppositions, assumptions, and beliefs of his moral and political thought.

Akeel Bilgrami should be coming out with a book that is also about philosophical dimensions of Gandhi's views.

Finally, although Sorabji cites Gene Sharp on the efficacy of political nonviolence, the latest and by far the best study along these lines is Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (2011). A book of case studies from the 20th century provides a nice companion volume: Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash, eds. Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-Violent Action from Gandhi to the Present (2009).


Jim Vaughan

What intrigued me in the discussion, was the disclosure that Gandhi did not advocate non-violence universally, but took a much more individualised stance to ethics, and urged some to fight, where this was their own "highest good".

His own daily cultivation of non-violence as a life attitude is something beyond religion or belief, but which joins humanists with the foundational values of all major religions. I like that...

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