Portrait of Peter Kropotkin

Peter Kropotkin

Activist, Scientist, and Philosopher
December 9, 1842 – February 8, 1921

Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian activist, revolutionary, scientist, geographer and philosopher who advocated anarcho-communism. Born into an aristocratic land-owning family, he attended a military school and later served as an officer in Siberia, where he participated in several geological expeditions. He was imprisoned for his activism in 1874 and managed to escape two years later. He spent the next 41 years in exile in Switzerland, France (where he was imprisoned for almost four years) and in England. He returned to Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917 but was disappointed by the Bolshevik form of state socialism.

Kropotkin was a proponent of a decentralised communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations of self-governing communities and worker-run enterprises. He wrote many books, pamphlets, and articles, the most prominent being The Conquest of Bread and Fields, Factories and Workshops; and his principal scientific offering, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. He also contributed the article on anarchism to the Encyclopædia Britannica's Eleventh Edition and left unfinished a work on anarchist ethical philosophy.

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Mentioned in 2 documents

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Alan talks about unexamined assumptions that underlie our commonsense beliefs which may cause confusion in our thinking about nature.

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It is widely understood that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution completely revolutionized the study of biology. Yet, according to David Sloan Wilson, the Darwinian revolution won’t be truly complete until it is applied more broadly—to everything associated with the words “human,” “culture,” and “policy.” In a series of engaging and insightful examples—from the breeding of hens to the timing of cataract surgeries to the organization of an automobile plant—Wilson shows how an evolutionary worldview provides a practical tool kit for understanding not only genetic evolution but also the fast-paced changes that are having an impact on our world and ourselves. What emerges is an incredibly empowering argument: If we can become wise managers of evolutionary processes, we can solve the problems of our age at all scales—from the efficacy of our groups to our well-being as individuals to our stewardship of the planet Earth.