The Social Philosophy of T. G. Masaryk: A Question of Suicide

  • Benjamin B. Page
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)


At first glance it might seem odd to focus a paper on Masaryk’s social philosophy on his earliest published book, a book on suicide.1 Der Selbstmord als sociale Massenerscheinung der modernen Civilisation, the original draft of which was written before Masaryk was thirty and at a time when he had recently converted from Catholicism to Protestantism, is often mentioned as little more than an appeal for a return to religion. Furthermore, it is generally considered to have been superseded by the far better known work by Durkheim, published sixteen years later.2


Suicide Rate Cultural Change Social Philosophy Bibliographical Note Traditional Religion 
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  1. 1.
    T. G. Masaryk, Der Selbstmord als sociale Massenerscheinung der modernen Civilisation (Vienna, 1881);Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Emile Durkheim, Le Suicide (Paris, 1897).Google Scholar
  3. See J. M. Atkinson, Discovering Suicide (Pittsburgh, 1978) p. 19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 3.
    see Carl Schorske, Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture (New York, 1980).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    See Enrico Morselli, Il Suicidio: saggio di statistica morale comparata (Milan, 1879);Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    See Karel Čapek, President Masaryk Tells His Story (New York, 1935) pp. 175–6,Google Scholar
  7. and e.g. Milan Machovec, ‘Masaryk and Marxism’ in V. Prečan (ed.), T. G. Masaryk and our Times (Hanover, 1986) pp. 56–60.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    T. G. Masaryk Otázka sociální: Základy marxism filosofické a sociologické (Prague, 1898);Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    T. G. Masaryk, ‘How to Work’, in The Ideals of Humanity and How to Work, trans. W. P. Warren et al. (Freeport, 1969) (reprint of 1938 edition) p. 179.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    See e.g. the discussion of the relationship of Bohemia to Austria in T. G. Masaryk, Rámcový program České strany lidové (realistiché) (Prague, 1900) Part I;Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    T. G. Masaryk, The Spirit of Russia, 2nd edn, 3 vols, (New York, 1961–7).Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    See T. G. Masaryk, The Meaning of Czech History, ed. René Wellek (Chapel Hill, 1974);Google Scholar
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    See Karel Čapek, Masaryk on Thought and Life (London, 1938),Google Scholar
  14. 22.
    see Antonie van den Beld, Humanity: The Political Philosophy of T. G. Masaryk (The Hague, 1975) pp. 29ff,Google Scholar
  15. and René Wellek, ‘The Philosophical Bases of Masaryk’s Political Ideals’, Ethics, 55 (July 1945) pp. 298–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 23.
    See, for example, Emil Ludwig, Defender of Democracy: Masaryk of Czechoslovakia (New York, 1936) p. 102.Google Scholar
  17. 24.
    Cf. Eva Schmidt-Hartman, Thomas G. Masaryk’s Realism: Origins of a Czech Political Concept (Munich, 1984);Google Scholar
  18. W. P. Warren, Masaryk’s Democracy: A Philosophy of Scientific and Moral Culture (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1941).Google Scholar
  19. 28.
    The most influential work of this sort is probably W. W. Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto (Cambridge, 1960);Google Scholar
  20. see also Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology (Glencoe, Ill., 1960);Google Scholar
  21. Herman Kahn, The Next 200 Years (New York, 1970);Google Scholar
  22. most explicitly, Donald Eugene Smith, Religion and Political Development (Boston, 1970).Google Scholar
  23. 29.
    See, for example, Terrance Carroll, ‘Secularisation and States of Modernity,’ World Politics, 36 April 1984, pp. 362–82;Google Scholar
  24. Joanna Macy, Dharma and Development (West Hartford, Conn., 1985)Google Scholar
  25. 30.
    See, for example, Michael Harrington, Politics at God’s Funeral: The Spiritual Crisis of Western Civilization (New York, 1985).Google Scholar
  26. 31.
    See, for example, the selections by East European scholars in Erich Fromm, (ed.), Socialist Humanism (Garden City, Kansas, 1965);Google Scholar
  27. See, for example, Radovan Richta et al., Civilisation at the Crossroads: The Social and Human Implications of the Scientific and Technological Revolution (New York, 1972).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London 1989

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  • Benjamin B. Page

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