Moral Philosophy and the Holocaust

Moral Philosophy and the Holocaust


Edited by Eve Garrard, Edited by Geoffrey Scarre

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  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Limited
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 236mm x 23mm | 544g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2003
  • Publication City/Country: Aldershot
  • ISBN 10: 0754614158
  • ISBN 13: 9780754614159
  • Illustrations note: notes, index

Product description

How far can we ever hope to understand the Holocaust? What can we reasonably say about right and wrong, moral responsibility, praise and blame, in a world where ordinary reasons seem to be excluded? In the century of Nazism, ethical writing in English had much more to say about the meaning of the word "good" than about the material reality of evil. This book seeks to redress the balance at the start of the 21st century. Despite intense interest in the Holocaust, there has been relatively little exploration of it by philosophers in the analytic tradition. Although ethical writers often refer to Nazism as a touchstone example of evil, and use it as a case by which moral theorizing can be tested, they rarely analyse what evil amounts to, or address the substantive moral questions raised by the Holocaust itself. This book draws together work by leading moral philosophers to present a wide range of perspectives on the Holocaust. Contributors focus on particular themes of central importance, including: moral responsibility for genocide; the moral uniqueness of the Holocaust; responding to extreme evil; the role of ideology; the moral psychology of perpetrators and victims of genocide; forgiveness and the Holocaust; and the impact of the "Final Solution" on subsequent culture. Topics are treated with the precision and rigour characteristic of analytic philosophy. Scholars, teachers and students with an interest in moral theory, applied ethics, genocide and Holocaust studies should find this book of particular value, as will all those seeking greater insight into ethical issues surrounding Nazism, race-hatred and intolerance.

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Table of contents

Introduction, Eve Garrard and Geoffrey Scarre; philosophy's contribution to Holocaust studies, Berel Lang; ideology, moral complicity and the Holocaust, David E. Cooper; in a class of its own?, Norman Geras; knowledge, history and the Holocaust, Tom Rockmore; persons of lesser value - moral argument and the "Final Solution", Hillel Steiner; perpetrator motivation - some reflections on the Browning/Goldhagen debate, Nick Zangwill; moral responsibility and the Holocaust, Geoffrey Scarre; four types of mass murderer - Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, Truman, Douglas P. Lackey; is limited altruism morally wrong?, Michael Freeman; harming some to save others from the Nazis, Frances M. Kamm; tragic decisions - removing Jewish children from their Christian guardians in post-war Europe, Daniel Statman; forgiving the unforgivable?, Laurence Thomas; forgiveness and the Holocaust, Eve Garrard; the Holocaust and the possibility of art, Oliver Leaman; the Holocaust in American Life as a moral text, Lawrence Blum.