Ethics of National Socialism – a contribution to understanding National Socialist moral justifications

If one wants to understand how the crimes of National Socialism were possible, it makes sense to look at the moral reasons that shaped the normative self-image of the acting actors. This topic is explored in the annotated volume of sources „Supposed Reasons – Ethics and Ethics in National Socialism“, which now presents for the first time a biographically contextualized selection of texts by academic moral philosophers who distinguished themselves particularly in the „Drittes Reich“.

The volume „Vermeintliche Gründe. Ethics and Ethics in National Socialism“ was extensively commented and edited by Werner Konitzer, Johanna Bach, Jonas Balzer and David Palme (PhD student at the Max Weber College for Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt). Dealing with the moral justifications of the perpetrators, who regarded their actions as „good“, „right“ or „necessary“, helps to better understand the connection between normative self-image and the crimes of National Socialism. In addition, the book enables a differentiated view of the development of moral philosophy after 1945.

Here you can find more information about the volume.

Josef Römelt presents a working paper on ‚Theological Ethics within the rational conditions of Cultural Studies‘

The text offered for the colloquium is intended to demonstrate the increasing interest of geography in ethical questions. Part of the dissertation project describes a process of increasing sensitivity for ethical questions on the part of geography, which overcomes the scientific positivism of the second half of the 20th century and leads to the transdisciplinary questions of the 21st century. Under the heading of „moral geographies“, the PhD project attempts to discuss the results of these cultural studies processes in geography. This could be helpful hints to possibly supplementing this analysis (however, it has already turned out to be relatively broad). However, the aim of the dissertation project is to obtain helpful suggestions for theological ethics from the increasing sensitivity of geography to ethics. „Geographical“ terminology seems particularly helpful for the task of structuring ethical problems. For example, Integrative Ethics speaks of topology, aporetics and poristics as essential components of striving ethics. Just as in geography topography designs maps for orientation, in ethics the demonstration of topoi, i.e. problem centres, paths of possible solutions (poristics) and the description of cul-de-sacs (aporetics) should provide ethical orientation services. In connection with the ethics of responsibility, Hans Jonas contrasts the Christian principle of „charity“ with the principle of „responsibility at a distance“. This addresses the problem that present generations are capable of destroying the living conditions of future generations from an ecological point of view. The spatial metaphors from near (charity) and far (responsibility for the farthest) serve to describe ethical problems in spatial and temporal distance. In media ethics, the attempt to establish spatial and temporal presence via media services (immediacy of the individual’s fate, language of images …) is thematized, so that moral action become politically effective.

The collection of ideas for the analysis of further points of contact between geographical metaphors and attempts at ethical structuring would be helpful for the project.