André Glucksmann

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André Glucksmann
André Glucksmann in Festival SOS 4.8 in Murcia, year 2010.
Born (1937-06-19) 19 June 1937 (age 78)
Era 20th-century philosophy
21st-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Continental philosophy
Nouveaux Philosophes

André Glucksmann (French: [ɡlyksman]; born 19 June 1937) is a French philosopher and writer, and member of the French new philosophers.

Early years[edit]

André Glucksmann was born in 1937, in Boulogne-Billancourt, the son of Ashkenazi Jewish parents from Austria-Hungary, the father from Bukovina, which later became part of Romania, the mother from Prague, which later became the capital of Czechoslovakia.[1] He studied in Lyon, and later enrolled at École normale supérieure de Saint-Cloud. His first book, Le Discours de la Guerre, was published in 1968. In 1975 he published the anti-Marxist book La Cuisinière le Mangeur d'Hommes, in which he argued that Marxism leads inevitably to totalitarianism, tracing parallels between the crimes of Nazism and Communism. In his next book Les maitres penseurs, published in 1977 and translated into English as Master Thinkers (Harper & Row, 1980), he traced the intellectual justification for totalitarianism back to the ideas articulated by various German philosophers such as Fichte, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche.


Taking his cue from Dostoevsky, in whose works one finds the assertion that if God doesn't exist then everything is permitted, Glucksmann applies this critique of godless nihilism to 9/11 in his book, Dostoyevsky in Manhattan. His 2006 book Une rage d’enfant is an autobiography which talks about how his experiences as a young Jew in occupied France led to his interest in philosophy and his belief in the importance of intervention:

“My style of thinking is to compare what happens on the TV, in the news and so on, and then extract what I can from books of philosophers to understand it. Philosophy for me is like subtitles. The problem comes from current events but the answer is supplied by philosophy.”

Glucksmann criticises the notion that Islamic terrorism is a product of the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, arguing that the first victims of Islamic terrorism are Muslims:

"Why do the 200,000 slaughtered Muslims of Darfur not arouse even half a quarter of the fury caused by 200-times fewer dead in Lebanon? Must we deduce that Muslims killed by other Muslims don’t count – whether in the eyes of Muslim authorities or viewed through the bad conscience of the West?"


Glucksmann supports military action by the West in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is highly critical of Russian foreign policy, supporting for example Chechen independence. He, however, is against the Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence from Georgia, arguing that Georgia is essential to maintaining European Union "energy independence," vis-a-vis Russia, through access to oil and gas reserves in the former Soviet republics: "If Tbilisi falls, there will be no way to get around Gazprom and guarantee autonomous access to the gas and petroleum wealth of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan" . As proof of Russia's plans to use energy blackmail, Glucksmann references a biting anti-Gazprom satirical song performed at the annual satirical award show "Silver Rubber Boot", which makes jokes like: If the Eurovision Song Contest denies victory to Russia again, we are going to drive to their concert and block their gas with our bodies!. Glucksmann describes this song as proof that the Russian people want to cut off gas to Ukraine and Europe. He writes: Consider a popular song performed by a military choir in Moscow. Its chorus depicts the “radiant future” that Gazprom is preparing: “Europe has a problem with us? We will cut off its gas... The Russian public loves the song."[2]

Glucksmann supported Nicolas Sarkozy for the April–May 2007 presidential election.[3]

In August 2008 he co-signed an open letter with Václav Havel, Desmond Tutu, and Wei Jingsheng calling upon the Chinese authorities to respect human rights both during and after the Beijing Olympic Games.

He is a signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism.[4]


  • Voltaire counter-attacks (Voltaire Contre-Attaque) (2014)
  • A Child's Rage (Une rage d'enfant) (2006)
  • The Discourse of Hate (Le Discours de la haine) (2004)
  • West Versus West (Ouest contre Ouest) (2003)
  • Dostoevsky in Manhattan (Dostoïevski à Manhattan) (2002)
  • The Third Death of God (La Troisième Mort de Dieu) (2000)
  • Silence, It Kills (Silence, on tue) (1986) (with Thierry Wolton)
  • Stupidity (La Bêtise) (1985)
  • Cynicism and Passion (Cynisme et passion) (1981/1999)
  • The Force of Vertigo (La Force du vertige) (1983).
  • The Master Thinkers (Les Maîtres penseurs) (1977)


  • "An Interview with Andre Glucksman". TELOS 33 (Fall 1977). New York: Telos Press


External links[edit]