Publication details for Professor Geoffrey ScarreScarre, Geoffrey. (1998). Understanding the moral phenomenology of the Third Reich. Ethical theory and moral practice 1(4): 423-445.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1386-2820, 1572-8447
- DOI: 10.1023/A:1009982506922
- Keywords: Evil, Goldhagen, Holocaust, Ideology, Luck and blindness, Moral responsibility.
- Further publication details on publisher web site
Author(s) from Durham
This paper discusses the issue of German moral responsibility for the Holocaust in the light of the thesis of Daniel Goldhagen and others that inherited negative stereotypes of Jews and Jewishness were prime causal factors contributing to the genocide. It is argued that in so far as the Germans of the Third Reich were dupes of an ''hallucinatory ideology,'' they strikingly exemplify the ''paradox of moral luck'' outlined by Thomas Nagel, that people are not morally responsible for what they are and are not responsible for. The implications of this paradox for the appraisal of German guilt are explored in relation to the views of a number of recent writers on the Holocaust.