The Warring Logics of Genocide

Edith Wyschogrod

in Crossover Queries

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226061
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235148 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

The Warring Logics of Genocide

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In addition to the parameters established by the legal definition of genocide, this chapter also considers meanings ascribed to the term “ethnic cleansing” as starting points for a discussion of the warring logics intrinsic to events of mass extermination. The chapter then turns to Dominique Janicaud's insightful account of the way in which rationality is currently configured as it bears upon, even if it fails fully to capture, the character of the warring logics at work in genocide. The chapter interprets “logic” as a complex of interpretive indicators or perspectives that arise within the sphere of events. In the case of genocidal acts, these logics are exhibited as the modus operandi of the acts themselves. The first of these warring logics is best described as the rationality of unencumbered replicability, the sensed multiplication of individuals so that vast numbers are seen as indistinguishable from one another. This absence of distinctiveness gives rise to a second logic, the logic of indiscernibles, which the chapter explicates in terms of Emmanuel Levinas's concept of the il y a.

Keywords: genocide; ethnic cleansing; warring logics; mass extermination; Dominique Janicaud; logic; Emmanuel Levinas; rationality

Chapter.  5632 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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