Applicazioni dell'epistemologia della testimonianza al caso dell'olocausto

Nicla Vassallo

pp. 139-156

The dual purpose of this paper is to examine whether the epistemology of testimony is useful in clarifying reflections on the Holocaust, and on the hand to employ the Holocaust as a test case for the epistemology of testimony in itself. In contrast to any form of epistemological individualism, I examine the epistemological problems and conditions that face both an historian (an indirect witness) and an ocular witness (a direct one). In this discussion, I will not be able to give precise answers to various questions, in particular concerning the relationship between these types of witnesses. I will conclude that although testimony requires truth of the proposition testified, lying seems better that telling the truth in cases where it is instrumental in saving many human life from the brutality of the Nazis. This conclusion is modest: while the epistemology of testimony can perhaps be of help in reflecting upon the Holocaust, it surely brings up more problems than what it can solve. Notwithstanding, I do not believe that the fault is with the epistemology of testimony, but rather that because of its extreme cruelty, inhumanity, and horror, it is too complex to say when a serious testimony about Holocaust is fully justified.

Publication details

DOI: 10.4000/estetica.1756

Full citation:

Vassallo, N. (2010). Applicazioni dell'epistemologia della testimonianza al caso dell'olocausto. Rivista di estetica 45, pp. 139-156.

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