SPEAKING ABSENCE: CONSIDERING THE VOICE IN AUSCHWITZ
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Despite the proliferation of Holocaust literature and survivor testimonials, philosophy has largely ignored the problems that Auschwitz raises for the possibility of philosophic understanding in a post-Holocaust world. As such it has been suggested that Auschwitz marks not only the limits of reason but also of human understanding. However, even as post-Holocaust thinkers recognize this limit, they gloss over it, employing philosophical tools in their attempts at reconciling the concentrationary universe with the world of reason. In this paper I examine their attempts and then, using their writings, I suggest that any attempt at a philosophical understanding of Auschwitz will have to proceed negatively. That is, post-Holocaust philosophy must attend to the absences of meaning that are themselves the only meaning disclosed by survivor accounts, and the trope of the mute voice in Holocaust literature provides one such means of doing so.
Embree, Desirae L (2014). SPEAKING ABSENCE: CONSIDERING THE VOICE IN AUSCHWITZ. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from