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I recently watch Steven Pinker's video on violence and figured out that I don't understand the difference between violence and aggression.

According to Wikipedia aggression is:

Aggression, in its broadest sense, is behavior, or a disposition, that is forceful, hostile or attacking.

and for Violence they use the WHO's definition:

the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation

At first sight it seemed that the difference could be intentionality, i.e., aggression has intentionality attached to it and violence doesn't.

But the WHO's report linked says:

The definition used by the WHO associates intentionality with the committing of the act itself, irrespective of the outcome it produces

So the difference is not all that clear to me.

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Seems more of a English Language & Usage question to me. –  Bleeding Fingers Dec 26 '13 at 5:53
Violence is behavior, aggression is emotion. You can be violent without being aggressive, and vice versa. –  what Dec 26 '13 at 17:44
I'm looking for references in the scientific literature on the definition of the terms. So far the only definition I've seen is the WHO's definition but I haven't gone through the list of references in that report, in any case they refer another WHO's report for this definition as well. The issue with Wikipedia references is that they are too many, and I though there should be a "textbook definition" for these two terms since it seems scientists have spend quite some time trying to figure out their origins and how they work. –  pgpb.padilla Dec 28 '13 at 7:16
I have also read Pinker's book: the blank slate, which talks about violence but I cannot remember if he makes a distinction between violence and aggression, I guess I have to give it another read. Any pointers are welcome. –  pgpb.padilla Dec 28 '13 at 7:21

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