Title

Ethics and the Awareness of Complex Individuals: Reflections on Adolf Eichmann and Oskar Schindler

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

1996

Advisor

Steve Wagner

Abstract

Like many philosophers who favor Aristotelian virtue ethics over more legalistic and impersonal theories like those of Kant and Mill, I claim that ethics is more a matter of cultivating the right character than of living by a set of rules based on abstract principles. True to this stance, I present a certain attitude toward others as crucial to living well. This attitude involves cultivating a powerful awareness of the intricate complexity of other people and a deep appreciation of the value of such complex beings. Also with this attitude comes a sense of relation and community inspired by our understanding that other human beings, like us, as isolated within their own perspective. In support of these views, I examine the lives of two men, Adolf Eichmann and Oskar Schindler, who help reveal the importance of this attitude and the moral tendencies it inspires.

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