The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy after the Holocaust

The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy after the Holocaust

The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy after the Holocaust

The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy after the Holocaust

Synopsis

Geras focuses on the figure of the bystander - to the destruction of the Jews of Europe, as well as to more recent atrocities - to consider the moral consequences of looking on without active response at persecution and great suffering.

Excerpt

The work here offered to the reader has been on my mind for some years, the circumstances in which its central idea first came to me being described on its first page. It stands, or falls, on its own. the argument it puts forward is a unitary one and pretty much self-contained. I have thought it appropriate, nevertheless, to include with it also three shorter pieces originally written for other purposes or occasions, for these treat of themes only touched on in passing in the essay which here precedes them, and I believe that they may usefully round out the general standpoint from which that essay has been written.

My intellectual debts on this occasion are principally two. My daughter Jenny Geras, alone, has shared with me from its inception the central idea I present in the following pages, and she has been talking to me about it on a regular basis ever since, as well as reading successive versions of the typescript. Eve Garrard, whom I met only when this work was already under way, has been most generous in her moral and intellectual support of my efforts to complete it and untiring in her discussion and questioning of -- and sometimes indeed agreement with -- aspects of my thinking. She too repeatedly read and commented on the draft of the work as it progressed. To have had two such loyal and stimulating . . .

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