State Violence and Moral Horror

SUNY Press
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 Explores the concept of “moral horror” as the experience of living amidst unjustifiable state violence.
Can state violence ever be morally justified? In State Violence and Moral Horror, Jeremy Arnold critically engages a wide variety of arguments, both canonical and contemporary, arguing that there can be no justification. Drawing on the concept of singularity found in the work of French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, Arnold demonstrates that any attempt to justify state violence will itself be violent and, therefore, must fail as a justification. On the basis of this argument, the book explores the concept of “moral horror” as the experience of living amidst and acquiescing to unjustifiable state violence. The careful explanation of arguments from across the spectrum of political theory and exceptionally clear prose will enable both advanced undergraduates and more general readers interested in political thought to understand and engage the central argument. State Violence and Moral Horror is a unique contribution to the growing literature on violence and will be of interest to political theorists and philosophers in both the analytic and continental traditions, philosophers of law, international relations theorists, law and society scholars, and social scientists interested in normative aspects of state violence.
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About the author

 Jeremy Arnold is Senior Lecturer in the University Scholars Program, National University of Singapore.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Oct 11, 2017
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Pages
214
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ISBN
9781438466774
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Political
Political Science / History & Theory
Social Science / Violence in Society
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Christopher R. Browning’s shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews—now with a new afterword and additional photographs.

Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as round-ups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning argues that most of the men of RPB 101 were not fanatical Nazis but, rather, ordinary middle-aged, working-class men who committed these atrocities out of a mixture of motives, including the group dynamics of conformity, deference to authority, role adaptation, and the altering of  moral norms to justify their actions. Very quickly three groups emerged within the battalion: a core of eager killers, a plurality who carried out their duties reliably but without initiative, and a small minority who evaded participation in the acts of killing without diminishing the murderous efficiency of the battalion whatsoever.

While this book discusses a specific Reserve Unit during WWII, the general argument Browning makes is that most people succumb to the pressures of a group setting and commit actions they would never do of their own volition.  

Ordinary Men is a powerful, chilling, and important work with themes and arguments that continue to resonate today.

“A remarkable—and singularly chilling—glimpse of human behavior...This meticulously researched book...represents a major contribution to the literature of the Holocaust."—Newsweek

 


 

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