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A philosopher who is warlike also challenges problems to a duel.There!—there! Don’t be so quick in flourishing the sword. It doesn’t pay in the long run.René Girard’s Achever Clausewitz is his latest, most incisive and penetrating account of the contagious dynamic of mimetic violence.1 It is also a bold attempt to finish Carl von Clausewitz’s classic Vom Kriege in a sense that is at least double.2 On the one hand, Girard sets out to finish Clausewitz’s insights into the dynamic of war understood as a duel by foregrounding mimetic principles the latter had intuited but not fully taken hold of. On the other hand, Girard engages in a theoretical confrontation with the Prussian officer with the aim not only to finish...
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