Philosophy and Genocide

Martin Shuster

in The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199232116
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Philosophy and Genocide


This article poses genocide as a philosophical problem, reviewing some of the ways philosophers have addressed genocide and then, by using the work of Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, suggests an alternative way in which they can proceed further. First, it raises the question as to why philosophers have been prone to not discussing genocide. Answering this question goes a long way in helping to understand what philosophy can and cannot do in analysing genocide. Genocide re-enters the philosophical frame as a distinctly modern, but nonetheless ultimately human possibility — one that has a particular genealogy and one that can be explored via its underpinnings in a complex network of philosophical commitments and positions.

Keywords: Max Horkheimer; genocide studies; Theodor Adorno; philosophy

Article.  8852 words. 

Subjects: History ; Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing

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