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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 9, Issue 1, 2006

Reyes Mate
Pages 1-44

The Memory of Auschwitz

In this translation of Chapter 5 of Memoria de Auschwitz (2003), Reyes Mate argues that only memory can appropriately respond to the singular event of Auschwitz, as demanded by the new categorical imperative of Adorno. Traditional philosophical rationality, by contrast, overlooks or even justifies the suffering of individuals. Mate acknowledges significant contributions to knowledge about Auschwitz, both in anticipation of its occurence and in retrospect, without losing sight of how this event nevertheless escapes comprehension. He proposes that a memory adequate to Auschwitz cannot simply be aimed at avoiding similar barbarism in the future, but must be dedicated to the failed aspirations of the victims themselves.

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