Moral Philosophy and the Holocaust

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Overview

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 a new 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 theorising 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 new 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 will find this book of particular value, as will all those seeking greater insight into ethical issues surrounding Nazism, race-hatred and intolerance. CONTENTS: 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
Index.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754614159
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors
Introduction
1 Philosophy's Contribution to Holocaust Studies 1
2 Ideology, Moral Complicity and the Holocaust 9
3 In a Class of its Own? 25
4 Knowledge, History and the Holocaust 57
5 Persons of Lesser Value: Moral Argument and the 'Final Solution' 75
6 Perpetrator Motivation: Some Reflections on the Browning/Goldhagen Debate 89
7 Moral Responsibility and the Holocaust 103
8 Four Types of Mass Murderer: Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, Truman 117
9 Is Limited Altruism Morally Wrong? 137
10 Harming Some to Save Others from the Nazis 155
11 Tragic Decisions: Removing Jewish Children from their Christian Guardians in Postwar Europe 169
12 Forgiving the Unforivable? 201
13 Forgiveness and the Holocaust 231
14 The Holocaust and the Possibility of Art 247
15 The Holocaust in American Life as a Moral Text 257
Index 275
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