The Rational Constitution of Evil: Reflections on Franz Baermann Steiner’s Critique of Philosophy

  • Michael Mack

Abstract

This chapter contributes to an analysis of philosophy’s involvement in genocide by exploring the work of Franz Baermann Steiner (1909–52), a Prague poet and Oxford anthropologist whose critique of philosophy was developed against the background of the Holocaust. The epigraph from Imre Kertész’s novel goes to the heart of Steiner’s philosophical investigation of philosophy, which emphasizes that, far from being irrational, evil is impregnated by and with reason.

Keywords

Europe Assimilation Tame Hate Culmination 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Imre Kertész, Kaddish for a Child Not Born, trans. Christopher C. Wilson and Katharina M. Wilson (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1997), p. 28.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Berel Lang, The Anatomy of Philosophical Style: Literary Philosophy and the Philosophy of Literature (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990), p. 22.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    John H. Zammito, Kant, Herder and the Birth of Anthropology (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2002), p. 313.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Edith Wyschogrod, Spirit in Ashes: Hegel, Heidegger, and Man-Made Mass Death (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985), p. 11.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Michael Mack, Anthropology as Memory: Elias Canetti’s and Franz Baermann Steiner’s Responses to the Shoah (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 7.
    Franz Baermann Steiner, “Slavery,” in Jeremy Adler and Richard Fardon, eds, Franz Baermann Steiner: Selected Writings, Vol. II, Orientpolitik, Value, and Civilization (New York: Berghahn Books, 1999), pp. 155–9, and especially p. 158.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1951), pp. 396–7.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Sander L. Gilman, The Jew’s Body (New York: Routledge), 1991.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Anson Rabinbach, In the Shadow of Catastrophe: German Intellectuals between Apocalypse and Enlightenment (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000), p. 9.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Wolfgang Pross, “Anmerkungen zu Seite 389,” in Wolfgang Pross, ed., Johann Gottfried Herder: Band III/2. Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit Kommentar (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2002), p. 594.Google Scholar
  11. 17.
    Immanuel Kant, “Rezension zu Johann Gottfried Herders Ideen,” in Wilhelm Weischedel, ed., Schriften zur Anthropologie, Geschichtsphilosophie, Politik und Pädagogik (Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1964), pp. 781–806, and especially p. 805.Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    See Mary Douglas, ed., Rules and Meanings: The Anthropology of Everyday Knowledge (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977), p. 113.Google Scholar
  13. Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reason of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), p. 146.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Mack 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Mack

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations