In search of meaning: philosophy before negative historical radicality

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The Holocaust’s extreme character, which makes it different from other historical events, can arguably by associated, with the help of philosophy, with its ‘negative radicality’. This radicality emanates from those elements in the cataclysm that seem to lack any apparent meaning when approached by means of ‘normal’ historical experience and understanding. Hence it is hardly surprising that the Shoah poses some of the biggest challenges to our capacities to comprehend, conceive, and represent not only historical events but history and historicity themselves. It turned out to be a more and more a ‘radical countertestimony’ to traditional philosophy; as philosophy has a lot to do with the historical circumstances in which it is written, we must ask how the Holocaust’s radicalism force a re-examination of philosophical categories. This does not mean we will find no meaning of the Holocaust: but if we want to deepen our understanding of it, we have to treat is as a philosophical-historical and cultural problem, subject to philosophical-historical and cultural answers.
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Archival date: 2015-01-23
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