‘Transgenerational Obligations: 21st Century Germany and the Holocaust’ (with Doris Schroeder), Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 January 2003, p.45-57, ISSN 0264 3758
This article, jointly researched and written with Prof Doris Schroeder, Head of the Centre for Professional Ethics at the University of Central Lancashire, has its roots at once in some ten years of undergraduate teaching on the Holocaust and in a longstanding interest in, and commitment to, collaborative work. The article builds on earlier work, such as my 'Understanding the Holocaust: "the Uniqueness debate", Radical Philosophy (1999) and 'Our Obligation to the Dead' (Journal of Applied Philosophy, 2002) and Schroeder's empirical research in Germany.
Published in perhaps the leading journal of applied philosophy, we argue that there is a plausible intellectual model of responsibility on the basis of which it is possible to argue that current generations of Germans may be said to bear a certain sort of responsibility for the actions of their forebears. Seeing individuals' identity as both materially, culturally and politically rooted in the past and as looking to the future through forms of intellectual, cultural and material endeavour, the article affords an intellectual framework within which the increasingly urgent issues of transgenerational obligation, both past and future, may realistically be dealt with. In doing so, it also suggests ways of approaching the issues of reparations for historical wrongs and the ownership of artefacts originally others' and now owned by museums. The piece has attracted comment and interest from a number of colleagues in the USA, Germany and South Africa working on problems of inter- and transgenerational obligation and is cited in the Stauros Bibliography.