Fackenheim, Arendt, and Agamben and the Nazi understanding of humanity

Title: Fackenheim, Arendt, and Agamben and the Nazi understanding of humanity
Authors: Waterman, Benjamin
Date: 2006
Abstract: The argument presented in this paper is that during the Shoah the Nazis were attempting to further enforce the understanding that humanity is essentially self-destructive or superfluous. Several writings are examined more closely to support this argument: Emil Fackenheim's To Mend the World: Foundations of Future Jewish Thought (section IV), Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism (Part 3) and, finally, Giorgio Agamben's "Homo Sacer": Bare Life and Sovereign Power (Part 3). Each of these author's writings are used as a focus for a discussion of the self-destructive tendencies that are a part of Nazism in its relationship to: Law, the Idea of Man and Ideology. An effort is made during the discussion of these topics to arrive at an appreciation of the extremely alarming extent to which the Nazis had enforced the creation of a society that was wholly self-destructive. This argument concerning the Nazi understanding of humanity also recognizes the creation of a society that is wholly self-destructive as an underlying threat that continues to pose an ongoing danger to the post-Shoah world. The recognition of this threat unfortunately demonstrates the relevance of the Nazi understanding of humanity to this world (a relevance which at the outset may not have been apparent). Amongst the challenges this poses is that as the creation of a wholly self-destructive society further intensifies the possibility for philosophy increasingly disappears. In the concluding chapter, reference is again made to the writings of Fackenheim, Arendt and Agamben. These writings are referred to as part of a discussion of resistance to the threat of creating a post-Shoah world that develops into a society that is wholly self-destructive. Also included in this discussion is the importance of this type of resistance to the possibility for philosophy in this world.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/27305
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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