Russell, Einstein and the Philosophy of Non-Absolute Pacifism

David Blitz


Russell and Einstein shared a commitment to a form of pacifism which Russell termed "non-absolute pacifism", or "relative political pacifism". Despite a 1947 disagreement on the roles of the United States, the Soviet Union and the immediate measures to be taken for world peace, Russell and Einstein were able to collaborate again in 1955 due to their shared philosophy. Newly discovered annotations by Einstein on a 1947 Russell article are used to analyze their disagreement, while their later statements are used to illustrate their shared commitment to a type of pacifism which allowed, exceptionally, for a justified war in the special circumstance of an enemy opposed to "life as such".

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