Raymond-Claude-Ferdinand Aron (French: [ÊÉmÉÌ aÊÉÌ]; 14 March 1905 â 17 October 1983) was a French philosopher, sociologist, journalist, and political scientist.
He is best known for his 1955 book The Opium of the Intellectuals, the title of which inverts Karl Marx's claim that religion was the opium of the people -- Aron argues that in post-war France, Marxism was the opium of intellectuals. In the book, Aron chastised French intellectuals for what he described as their harsh criticism of capitalism and democracy and their simultaneous defense of Marxist oppression, atrocities, and intolerance. Critic Roger Kimball suggests that Opium is "a seminal book of the twentieth century." Aron is also known for his lifelong friendship, sometimes fractious, with philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
Aron wrote extensively on a wide range of other topics. Citing the breadth and quality of Aron's writings, historian James R. Garland suggests, "Though he may be little known in America, Raymond Aron arguably stood as the preeminent example of French intellectualism for much of the twentieth century." Continue Reading »
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