A Critical Assessment of the Relationship between Imitation and Violence in Rene Girard’s View

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD student, Philosophy of Ethics, Theology College, University of Qom

2 Assistant professor, Islamic Nations History and Civilization, Academy of Islamic Science and Culture


Girard considers imitation to be the main factor of violence by attributing violence to man’s nature. According to him, praising the role-model motivates imitation of the inclinations of the role-model in the praiser. This matter results in rivalry and violence between the imitator and role-model since imitation has the characteristic of transmission and is a contagion that fills all of society with violence. Imitation, apart from being a factor of violence, can also be a factor of its destruction; this destruction is sometimes temporary and is realized through the victim’s accusation and punishment (of the perpetrator) and is sometimes final and everlasting and is actualized through imitation of the Divine role-model (messiah). Based on the finding of this study, Girard’s Imitation Theory has considerable distinctions like studying the roots of violence in man’s nature and presenting a philosophical analysis of that, logical cohesion of the main points and the ability to explain the particular types of violence which other theories do not focus on. There are also flaws in this view, some of which are: the inability to provide a comprehensive explanation of violence and reducing to it to only one methodological factor and disorder.


Main Subjects

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