Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Department ofClassics and Ancient
Mediterranean Studies

RLST 478: Ethics After the Holocaust

RLST 478: Ethics After the Holocaust
The aim of this course is to explore various ways in which philosophers have responded to Auschwitz (a signifier, or name, which is in turn not without controversy and complexity). It will examine, in particular, the promise and failure of post-Holocaust ethical theory, with attention to evil, suffering, goodness, witnessing, testimony, trauma, and human rights. Authors include Levi, Agamben, Arendt, Adorno, Levinas, Jonas, and Jankelevitch. Through reading and discussion of primary sources, this course introduces students to these philosophers’ leading questions, methods, and conclusions, with reference to their historical context and their impact on later philosophy. The course will make these writings accessible to students without unduly presupposing prior knowledge, while also encouraging students to rise to the challenge with their own critical analysis and creative interpretations.
Instructor: De Warren, Nicolas J