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The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy After the Holocaust

by Geras, Norman

  • ISBN: 9781859848685
  • ISBN10: 1859848680

The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy After the Holocaust

by Geras, Norman

  • List Price: $22.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Verso
  • Publish date: 06/01/1998
  • ISBN: 9781859848685
  • ISBN10: 1859848680
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Description: In The Contract of Mutual Indifference Norman Geras discusses a central aspect of the experience of the Holocaust with a view to exploring its most important contemporary implications. In a bold and powerful synthesis of memorial, literary record, historical reflection and political theory, he focuses on the figure of the bystander -- the bystander to the destruction of the Jews of Europe and the bystander to more recent atrocities -- to consider the moral consequences of looking on without active response at persecution and great suffering.

Geras argues that the tragedy of European Jewry, so widely pondered by historians, social scientists, psychologists, theologians and others, has not yet found its proper reflection within political philosophy. Attempting to fill the gap, he adapts an old idea from within that tradition of enquiry, the idea of the social contract, to the task of thinking about the triangular relation between perpetrators, victims and bystanders, and draws a sombre conclusion from it. Geras goes on to ask how far this conclusion may be offset by the hypothesis of a universal duty to bring aid.

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