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Julien Benda’s classic study of s Europe resonates today. The “treason of the intellectuals” is a phrase that evokes much but is inherently ambiguous. Julien Benda (26 December – 7 June ) was a French philosopher and novelist. He remains famous for his short book, La Trahison des Clercs (The Tr. The Treason of the Intellectuals: Julien Benda: La Trahison des clercs (; The Treason of the Intellectuals; also published as The Great Betrayal), Benda.

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Thanks for telling us about the intellectuas. Return to Book Page. The Treason of the Intellectuals by Julien Benda.

Julien Benda’s classic study of s Europe resonates today. The “treason of the intellectuals” is a phrase that evokes much but is inherently ambiguous.

The book bearing this title is well known but little understood. This edition is introduced by Roger Kimball. From the time of the pre-Socratics, intellectuals were a breed apart. They were non-materialistic knowledge-see Julien Benda’s classic study of s Europe resonates today.

The treason of the intellectuals & “The Undoing of Thought”

They were non-materialistic knowledge-seekers who believed in a universal humanism and represented a cornerstone of civilized society. According to Rreason, this all began to change in the early twentieth century. In Europe in the s, intellectuals began abandoning their attachment to traditional philosophical and scholarly ideals, and instead glorified particularisms and moral relativism. The “treason” of which Benda writes is the betrayal by the intellectuals of their unique vocation.

He criticizes European intellectuals for allowing political commitment to insinuate itself into their understanding of the intellectual vocation, ushering the world into “the age of the intellectual organization of political hatreds. Paperbackpages. Published October 17th by Routledge first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Treason of the Intellectualsplease thd up. Be the first to ask a question about The Treason of the Intellectuals. Lists with This Book. Jul 03, BlackOxford rated it really liked it Shelves: Re-entering that magical sphere, I recalled this piece by Julien Benda. One can only observe that, if anything, the situation has become worse since Hesse and Benda wrote.

So it seems sensible to revisit Treason to at least become more aware of the problem. They all pretend to provide factual arguments for some point of view. The pedlars have a constituency, from this they enjoy celebrity, and from celebrity they derive wealth with which to peddle more intellectual junk. Not that the political Right, or even politics generally, have a monopoly on intellectual hypocrisy.

The business guru is arguably top of the heap when it comes to academic rubbish. At one point early in my career I was a member of an academic institute at the University of Pennsylvania. The institute was run by a brilliant man who had an explicit and compelling credo: This made sense to me at the time.

Only as I matured did I realise that what we were doing was letting someone else – particularly if they had deep pockets – define treasno constituted a significant social problem.

The Treason of the Intellectuals – Julien Benda – Google Books

Commercialisation of our talents in research and analysis did not make us any more relevant, just richer. His self-image and rationalisation is one of advancing knowledge and making the world an economically more efficient place. I know this because I had this self-image and made this rationalisation for a trexson part of my adult life and was considered normal by my colleagues. According to Benda I should receive no mercy: The problem is not one of practice and professional error but one of ideals.


Human beings have always been self-centred, careerist and often nasty. But they knew when they acted badly because of the professional standards of public intellectuals. Ambition is the essential mark of character for the university graduate. Winning is the only measure of success no matter how banal, or destructive, or painful to others the competition might be.

The real damage done by a man like Trump is that he incites all around him to forget entirely that there are such things as ideals. It appears that julie have reached the level of ultimate intellectual treason. Could there possibly be anywhere deeper to go?

View all 24 comments. Sep 05, AC rated it did not like it Shelves: The thesis is interesting — though not entirely persuasive — but the book is better known than read. The Introduction is written in the style of some sort of Straussian cant and is a complete waste of time. Jan 12, Constantin C. Jul 17, Ingeborg rated it really liked it Shelves: Even though the first edition of this book was inwhich can seem ancient, but the main issues that it adresses are still alive today, and are still a problem.

Intellectuals are prone to politics and their own interests, the majority of people does not think beyond their primary needs and interests Who is going to protect humanity from its own stupidity, greed, its dangerous narrow national interests and wrong choices? Who is going to think outside the box, and want something moral and Even though the first edition of this book was inwhich can seem ancient, but the main issues that it adresses are still alive today, and are still a problem.

Who is going to think outside the box, and want something moral and truthful and meaningful for all? Who – if not intellectuals? The author sometimes repeats himself, but this is still a very good and important book. It makes you think! During the XIXth century, Europe embraced gruesome stories and abandoned reason. A worried guy looked at the landscape and tried to articulate his concerns. I believe there are better critiques of the trends described in this book.

However, the concern was proved valid and, as such, it deserves consideration.

Mar 02, John rated it it was amazing. Truthfully, this book does not say very much. What has been said here, if it were not a work of history, could have been argued in all of 20 pages. This is not to say that what is has said is not relevant or important. However, there is a slight oddity in that the very thesis of the book seems to fail at its own goal.

Julien Benda

If this book is reported as a work of a ‘clerc’, then it is a failure. Thus, I choose to not see it as such, but rather an interested as opposed to disinterested, as the book woul Truthfully, this book does not say very much. Thus, I choose to not see it as such, but rather an interested as opposed to disinterested, as bwnda book would argue warning to the intellectual. The warning is as follows: As soon as the society or individuals of that society does so, it gives up any plausible attention to transcendental truths.

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However, the way in which the author organizes this argument has difficulty. For example, the author claims that it is not necessarily the goal of a clerc that makes one fail, but rather how this work is used that makes it sufficiently treasonous.

However, if a intellecruals intends to be used by political “realists” or for practical policy, it is necessarily a failure. The problem here is that it is claimed reasonable to place blame on the intellectual for their social interpretation regardless of their goal. If this were the case, then Spinoza, a clerc which the author to be a shining example, would be a failure under interpretation of post-modern religion.

Spinoza’s ethics is often proposed as a method of establishing a social anarchy of post-modern experience. This is not disinterested! I wondered if the author would ontellectuals more in detail how to address these interpretations, but he never does. Instead he resorts to rants about interested others.

I feel this book leaves its arguments vaguely unfinished, and instead rests its case on historical failures and predictions, such as grand wars, treasob could have been explained away by other means, and often were. Still, there is something respectable about pointing this out, and it would seem to me that in a modern world, this is the kind intellectials argument that is often offered in opposition to scientifically and ethically relativist postmodernist propositions.

It raises questions about how one presents their work as an academic and whether or not it is truly a theoretical gain, or if it is rather solely interested in political power under the banner of popular ethical quips.

It oddly enough, seems to offer thf beginnings of an explanation for why the alt-right and antifa might be considered equally nationalistic, fascistic, intellecyuals ethically relativistic in the modern political world. Unfortunately, it does not do so an an sufficiently metaphysically useful way. So one cannot use this work as a clerc, one can only use the questions it raises.

Julin se explica julein ce principiile carturarului modern au devenit exaltarea curajului pe care filosofii, de la Socrate la Renan, il considerau o virtute de rangul al doileaexaltarea onoarei, exaltarea duritatii impreuna cu dispretul fata de iubirea de oameni si cultul succesului, adica preamarirea conform distinctiei lui Saint-Beuve “inteligentei-spada” in locul “inteligentei-oglinda”. Si istoria va zimbi la gindul ca Socrate si Iisus Cristos au murit pentru aceasta specie.

Come al tempo di Benda, anche oggi, il chierico parla per sentimenti, parla per sensazioni, per passioni; lasciando la ragione in un angolo remoto e giustificando con le sue prediche il declino morale tutto sensazionalistico e poco logico-razionale dell’Europa. Jun 10, Raimo Wirkkala rated it really liked it.

The observations made in ‘s France echo even to this day. Sep 27, Wahyu Krisyanto rated it really liked it Shelves: I read Indonesian version, -Pengkhiantan Kaum Cendikiawan.