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In “The Concept of Genocide Reconsidered,” Mohammed Abed argues...

In “The Concept of Genocide Reconsidered,” Mohammed Abed argues that there are several surprising ways in which the concept of genocide “corresponds in its formulation” to ‘homicide.’ Begin by explaining what the author means by this and then discuss what you consider to be the strongest objection to the position he defends in the essay (do this even if you happen to agree with the author’s view). For instance, Abed’s account implies that the destruction of slavery in the American South was a morally required genocide. The fact that his view has such bizarre – perhaps even absurd – implications suggests that Abed’s conception of genocide is faulty. The task from there would be to explain exactly why his conception is faulty. Again, this is just an example – you will have to develop your own arguments.

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© Copyright 2015 by Social Theory and Practice , Vol. 41, No. 2 (April 2015): 328-356. DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract201541218 The Concept of Genocide Reconsidered Mohammed Abed Abstract : Genocide is a violent process that aims at the liquidation of protected groups. Like individuals, groups can be killed in a variety of ways and for many different rea- sons. Only the intention of the perpetrator distinguishes genocide from other forms of mass violence. The implications of the account given are striking. Genocide is not in any sense distinctively heinous. Nor is it necessarily immoral. Under certain conditions, settler- colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and forced assimilation will count as instances of the phe- nomenon. While the argument undermines the orthodox view, it can accommodate the idea that the Holocaust was distinctively heinous. Keywords : genocide; Holocaust; Ottoman Armenians; imperialism; settler-colonialism; ethnic cleansing; slavery; assimilation Introduction Moral philosophers could be forgiven for thinking that the concept of genocide is unworthy of their attention. The systematic extermination of a group is a monstrous crime. What more is there to say? Further reflection reveals that there is a great deal more for the moral philosopher to contribute. There is now a voluminous literature on geno- cide. The overwhelming bulk of this work has been done by scholars from other disciplines, and yet a number of philosophical issues—many of which are linked to core debates in moral and political theory—run through it. 1 1 The following philosophers have made valuable contributions to the debate about genocide: Paul Boghossian, “The Concept of Genocide,” Journal of Genocide Research 12 (2010): 69-80; Berel Lang, Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), “The Concept of Genocide,” The Philosophical Forum 16, nos. 1-2 (1984/1985): 1-18, and “The Evil in Genocide,” in John K. Roth (ed.), Genocide and Human Rights: A Philosophical Guide (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 5-17; Raimond Gaita, A Common Humanity: Thinking About Love and Truth and Justice (New York: Routledge, 2002), “Refocusing Genocide: A Philosophical Responsibility,” in Roth (ed.), Genocide and Human Rights , pp. 153-66, and “Sorry, But It’s No Time for Minds to Slam Shut,” The Australian , 7 May 2008; Emil L. Fackenheim, “The Holocaust and Philosophy,” Journal of Philosophy 82 (1985): 505-14, and To Mend the World: Founda- tions of Post-Holocaust Jewish Thought (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994);
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