Tuesday 29 October 2019, 6.30-8PM

CO.AS.IT., 199 Faraday Street, Carlton, VIC 3053

FREE EVENT - RSVP essential coasit.com.au

My title is a quote is form Inga Clendinnen's book, Reading the Holocaust. She means that we cannot do without If this is a Man, if we want to understand the ethical character of the Holocaust. She means also, I think, that humanity needs such ethical understanding if it is to understand itself. At any rate, that is what I believe, and I will try to explain why. In doing so I will explore the criticism, increasingly common and from many quarters, that thinking this way about the Holocaust distorts rather than deepens our understanding of what it means for all the peoples of the earth to share a common humanity. The reason given is, in part, that it has diminished ethical appreciation of other crimes, rightly called crimes against humanity, suffered by non-European peoples.

Raimond Gaita is a Professorial Fellow in The Faculty of Arts and the Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne, and Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at King's College London. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

In 2009, the University of Antwerp awarded him the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa “for his exceptional contribution to contemporary moral philosophy and for his singular contribution the role of the intellectual in today’s academic world”.

Gaita's books include: "Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception"; "Romulus, My Father", which was made into a film starring Eric Bana; "A Common Humanity: Thinking About Love & Truth & Justice"; "The Philosopher's Dog"; "Breach of Trust: Truth, Morality and Politics" and "After Romulus". He is editor and contributor to "Why the War was Wrong (Iraq)"; "Gaza: Morality Law and Politics"; "Muslims and Multiculturalism"; with Alex Miller and Alex Skovron, "Singing for All he’s Worth: Essays in honour of J.G. Rosenberg" and with Gerry Simpson, "Who’s Afraid of International Law".

Gaita has contributed extensively to public discussion about reconciliation, collective responsibility, the role of moral considerations in politics, the Holocaust, genocide, crimes against humanity, education (the nature of teaching as a vocation, the role of love in learning) and the plight of the universities.


This talk is part of the initiative "Primo Levi: Writer, Witness, Scientist. Italian and Jewish Organisations Unite to Celebrate LifeItalian and Jewish Organisations Unite to Celebrate Life", presented by the Jewish Museum of Australia, the Jewish Holocaust Centre, the Italian Cultural Institute Melbourne, and CO.AS.IT Museo Italiano on the occasion of the centenary of Primo Levi’s birth.

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