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The Moral Demands of Memory


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Table of Contents

1. Memory as a subject of evaluative inquiry; 2. Taking responsibility for one's own past; 3. Doing justice to the past; 4. Ethics, truth, and collective memory; 5. The responsibility of remembrance; 6. Memory and bearing witness.

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Jeffrey Blustein provides a rigorous account of a morality of memory.

About the Author

Jeffrey Blustein is Professor of Bioethics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Adjunct Associate Professor at Barnard College. He is the author of Parents and Children: The Ethics of the Family; Care and Commitment: Taking the Personal Point of View; and most recently, Ethics for Health Care Organizations and Handbook for Health Care Ethics Committees (both with Linda Farber Post and Nancy Dubler). He has published numerous articles in journals such as Metaphilosophy, Dialogue, Journal of Social Philosophy, Journal of Value Inquiry, and Bioethics.


Jeffrey Blustein's marvelous The Moral Demands of Memory is the first systematic book-length philosophical discussion of a number of interconnected questions: what is the nature of personal and collective memory? What are their roles in honoring the past and repairing historical injustice? Are there any obligations to remember, and why? How is memory related to personal and collective identity? Blustein's wide-ranging discussion also addresses the issue of collective shame, the social function of myth, the role of ritual in remembering, and the nature as well as moral significance of bearing witness. These are philosophically and humanly matters of genuine importance, and Blustein's sophisticated analysis significantly advances the discussion about them. --Charles L. Griswold, Boston University This is the book to read on the ethics of memory - individual and collective. Drawing on a wide range of recent work, its in-depth analyses range from taking responsibility for one's own past and for historic injustices to remembering the "dear departed" and bearing witness. Blustein's nuanced explorations of non-consequentialist arguments throughout (a highlight) are, amazingly, very pragmatically helpful. An outstanding work -- I love this book! --Claudia Card, Emma Goldman Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin Blustein builds a nuanced, comprehensive, and ultimately moving view of remembrance and obligations to remember. Drawing on remarkably diverse literatures and sustaining a continuous philosophical argument, this book travels from the nature and uses of memory, through history and injustice, to our obligations, individually and collectively, to remember, memorialize, and bear witness. A singular contribution to a topic little addressed by academic philosophers and a richly detailed meditation on questions that touch our personal and political lives. --Margaret Urban Walker, Lincoln Professor of Ethics, Arizona State University

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