Linguistics and the Vienna Circle Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9445-9 Authors Thomas Uebel, Department of Philosophy, School of Social Science, University of Manchester, Arthur Lewis Building, Manchester, M13 9PL UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Paul Grice seems to have led a quintessentially academic life — a life spent jotting notes, giving lectures, reading, talking, and arguing with his past self and with others. In virtue of his age and station, he remained largely at the fringes of the great battles of his day — World War II and the clash of the positivists with the ordinary language group. There are no grand family tensions `a la Russell, nor any deep psychoses `a la Wittgenstein. Just (...) obstinacy, unfashionable dress, cricket, and periods of gluttony. It is not the usual stuff of high drama. But SiobhanChapman’s biography Paul Grice: Philosopher and Linguist tells a compelling story. It’s a story of surprising influences and gradual intellectual evolution. And it is well timed from the linguist’s perspective. Now more than ever, the boundaries of conversational implicatures, Grice’s most important designation, are being redrawn. It is illuminating to return to their sources and track their development. (shrink)
Paul Grice (1913-1988) is best known for his psychological account of meaning, and for his theory of conversational implicature. This is the first book to consider Grice's work as a whole. Drawing on the range of his published writing, and also on unpublished manuscripts, lectures and notes, SiobhanChapman discusses the development of his ideas and relates his work to the major events of his intellectual and professional life.
ABSTRACT This article focuses on Arne Naess's work in the philosophy of language, which he began in the mid-1930s and continued into the 1960s. This aspect of his work is nowadays relatively neglected, but it deserves to be revisited. Firstly, it is intrinsically interesting to the history of analytic philosophy in the twentieth century, because Naess questioned some of the established philosophical methodologies and assumptions of his day. Secondly, it suggests a compelling but unacknowledged intellectual pedigree for some recent developments (...) in linguistics. Naess's philosophy of language developed from his reaction against logical positivism, in particular against what he saw as its unempirical assumptions about language. He went on to establish ?empirical semantics?, in which the study of language was based on real-life linguistic data, drawn primarily from questionnaires issued to philosophically naïve subjects. He also experimented with methods for ?occurrence analysis?, but concluded that the collection and analysis of sufficiently large bodies of naturally-occurring data was impractical. Empirical semantics was not well received by Naess's philosophical contemporaries. It was also seen as being at odds with contemporary trends in linguistics. However, some present-day branches of linguistics have striking resonances with Naess's work from as much as seventy years ago. In sociolinguistics, questionnaires have become an established means of collecting linguistic data. In corpus linguistics, advances in technology have made Naess's unobtainable ideal of ?occurrence analysis? a viable methodology. Some of the principal conclusions reached as a result of this methodology are strikingly similar to Naess's own findings. (shrink)
This book compares attitudes to empiricism in language study from mid-twentieth century philosophy of language and from present-day linguistics. It focuses on responses to the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle, particularly in the work of British philosopher J. L. Austin and the much less well-known work of Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess.
ABSTRACTExperimental philosophy often draws its data from questionnaire-based surveys of ordinary intuitions. Its proponents are keen to identify antecedents in the work of philosophers who have referred to intuition and everyday understanding [e.g. Knobe, Joshua, and Shaun Nichols, ‘An Experimental Philosophy Manifesto’. In Experimental Philosophy, edited by Joshua Knobe and Shaun Nichols, 3–14. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007]. In this context, ‘Empirical Semantics’, pioneered by Arne Naess early in the twentieth century, offers striking parallels. Naess believed that much contemporary philosophy (...) was unempirical because it made no reference to ordinary understanding or use of language. In response, he attempted large-scale studies of ordinary understanding of philosophically significant terms [e.g. Naess, Arne. ‘Truth’ as Conceived by Those Who Are Not Professional Philosophers. Oslo: Jacob Dybwad, 1938]. This article will compare Empirical Semantics and experimental philosophy, and assess what su... (shrink)
Philosophy for Linguists provides students with a clear, concise introduction to the main topics in the philosophy of language. Focusing on what linguists need to know and how philosophy relates to modern linguistics, the book is structured around key branches of linguistics: semantics, pragmatics, and language acquisition. Assuming no prior knowledge of philosophy, SiobhanChapman traces the history and development of ideas in the philosophy of language and outlines the contributions of specific philosophers. The book is highly accessible (...) and includes: a general introduction and introductions to each chapter; numerous examples and quotations; comprehensive suggestions for further reading and an extensive glossary of linguistic terms. (shrink)
The poetry and journalistic essays of Katherine Tillman often appeared in publications sponsored by the American Methodist church. Collected together for the first time, her works speak to the struggles and triumphs of African-American women.
In this article I explore the ways in which legal language, discourses, and narratives construct new dominant identities for women who kill their children. These identities are those of the ‘bad’, ‘mad’, or ‘sad’ woman. Drawing upon and critiquing statutes, case law, and sentencing remarks from England and Wales, I explore how singular narrative identities emerge for the female defendants concerned. Using examples from selected cases, I highlight how the judiciary interpret legislation, use evidence, and draw upon gender stereotypes in (...) carefully constructing macro-narratives which produce gendered identities for filicidal women, thus nullifying the challenge these women pose to appropriate femininity and the motherhood mandate. Each of the narrative identities discussed deny the agency of the female defendants that they are attached to, albeit in subtly different ways, by denying their ability to make any degree of choice in relation to their filicidal actions. Although such identity construction and agency denial may not always be damaging to these filicidal women per se, its pervasiveness within legal discourse reinforces and reproduces damaging gender stereotypes surrounding women and femininity. (shrink)
Memory has long been a subject of fascination for poets, artists, philosophers and historians. The volume examines how past events are remembered, contested, forgotten, learned from and shared with others. Each author in The Ashgate Research Companion to Memory Studies has been asked to reflect on his or her research companions as a scholar, who studies memory. The original studies presented in the volume are written by leading experts, who emphasize both the continuity of heritage and tradition, as well as (...) the memory of hostilities, traumas and painful events. Comprised of four thematic sections, The Ashgate Research Companion to Memory Studies provides a comprehensive overview of the latest research within the discipline. The principal themes include: ¢ Memory, History and Time ¢ Social, Psychological and Cultural Frameworks of Memory ¢ Acts and Places of Memory ¢ Politics of Memory, Forgetting and Democracy. (shrink)
In recent years, William J. Abraham has suggested the creation of a new subdiscipline for examining the epistemology of theology. This article provides an overview of this proposal, highlighting some of the philosophical concepts, such as ‘Aristotelian epistemic fit’ and particularism, that Abraham drew upon when formulating this approach. It then proceeds to an examination of Abraham’s application of these ideas to his preferred theological scheme, canonical theism. Limitations and challenges to Abraham’s position are discussed as well as ways in (...) which weaknesses in his approach might be addressed. (shrink)
There has been much recent interest in imprecise probabilities, models of belief that allow unsharp or fuzzy credence. There have also been some influential criticisms of this position. Here we argue, chiefly against Elga, that subjective probabilities need not be sharp. The key question is whether the imprecise probabilist can make reasonable sequences of decisions. We argue that she can. We outline Elga's argument and clarify the assumptions he makes and the principles of rationality he is implicitly committed to. We (...) argue that these assumptions are too strong and that rational imprecise choice is possible in the absence of these overly strong conditions. (shrink)
With Wind Wizard, Siobhan Roberts brings us the story of Alan Davenport, the father of modern wind engineering, who investigated how wind navigates the obstacle course of the earth's natural and built environments--and how, when not properly heeded, wind causes buildings and bridges to teeter unduly, sway with abandon, and even collapse. In 1964, Davenport received a confidential telephone call from two engineers requesting tests on a pair of towers that promised to be the tallest in the world. His (...) resulting wind studies on New York's World Trade Center advanced the art and science of wind engineering with one pioneering innovation after another. Establishing the first dedicated "boundary layer" wind tunnel laboratory for civil engineering structures, Davenport enabled the study of the atmospheric region from the earth's surface to three thousand feet, where the air churns with turbulent eddies, the average wind speed increasing with height. The boundary layer wind tunnel mimics these windy marbled striations in order to test models of buildings and bridges that inevitably face the wind when built. Over the years, Davenport's revolutionary lab investigated and improved the wind-worthiness of the world's greatest structures, including the Sears Tower, the John Hancock Tower, Shanghai's World Financial Center, the CN Tower, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, the Sunshine Skyway, and the proposed crossing for the Strait of Messina, linking Sicily with mainland Italy. Chronicling Davenport's innovations by analyzing select projects, this popular-science book gives an illuminating behind-the-scenes view into the practice of wind engineering, and insight into Davenport's steadfast belief that there is neither a structure too tall nor too long, as long as it is supported by sound wind science. (shrink)
Why do certain places and not others symbolically capture the past and freeze time? Likewise, why does the process of memory, as a fluid and changing activity, seem to prevent its own solidification? Memory and Representation in Contemporary Europe reflects not only on the persistence of the past as a theme linked to modernity, media and time, but also discusses the politics of memory within a changing Europe. Drawing on the theoretical work of Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin and Zygmunt Bauman, (...)Siobhan Kattago uses examples from both Germany and Estonia in order to address the multiple layers of Europe's totalitarian past. Through reflecting on the legacy of totalitarianism and the revolutions of 1989, it becomes clear that the issue is less of whether one should remember, but rather how to internalize the various lessons of the past for the future of Europe. Memory and Representation in Contemporary Europe thus offers the reader occasions upon which to take stock of different but overlapping contours of past and present in contemporary Europe. (shrink)
Matriliny has long been debated by anthropologists positing either its primitive or its puzzling nature. More recently, evolutionary anthropologists have attempted to recast matriliny as an adaptive solution to modern social and ecological environments, tying together much of what was known to be associated with matriliny. This paper briefly reviews the major anthropological currents in studies of matriliny and discusses the contribution of evolutionary anthropology to this body of literature. It discusses the utility of an evolutionary framework in the context (...) of the first independent test of Holden et al.’s 2003 model of matriliny as daughter-biased investment. It finds that historical daughter-biased transmission of land among the Mosuo is consistent with the model, whereas current income transmission is not. In both cases, resources had equivalent impacts on male and female reproduction, a result which predicts daughter-biased resource transmission given any nonzero level of paternity uncertainty. However, whereas land was transmitted traditionally to daughters, income today is invested in both sexes. Possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed. (shrink)
Human connection is universally important, particularly in the context of serious illness and at the end of life. The presence of close family and friends has many benefits when death is close. Hospital visitation restrictions during the Coronavirus pandemic therefore warrant careful consideration to ensure equity, proportionality, and the minimization of harm. The Australian and New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine COVID-19 Special Interest Group utilized the relevant ethical and public health principles, together with the existing disease outbreak literature and (...) evolving COVID-19 knowledge, to generate a practical framework of visiting restrictions for inpatients receiving palliative and end-of-life care. Expert advice from an Infectious Diseases physician ensured relevance to community transmission dynamics. Three graded levels of visitor restrictions for inpatient settings are proposed, defining an appropriate level of minimum access. These depend upon the level of community transmission of COVID-19, the demand on health services, the potential COVID-19 status of the patient and visitors, and the imminence of the patient’s death. This framework represents a cohesive, considered, proportionate, and ethically robust approach to improve equity and consistency for inpatients receiving palliative care during the COVID-19 pandemic and may serve as a template for future disease outbreaks. (shrink)
Donald Coxeter died in 2003, at a ripe old age of 96. Though I had regularly seen him at mathematics talks in Toronto for over twenty years, I never felt rushed to seek him out. It seemed he would go on forever. His death left me regretting my missed opportunity and Siobhan Robert's excellent book makes me regret it even more. Like any good biography of an intellectual, King of Infinite Space contains personal details and mathematical achievements in some (...) detail. Thus, we learn of the traumatic effects on Coxeter of his parents' divorce, his search for a spouse, his vegetarianism, and his progressive politics. We also learn a fair bit about the kaleidoscopes he made while in Cambridge during his student days in order to study the symmetry properties of polyhedra. These involved mirrors that Coxeter had specially constructed for this purpose. Along the way we are treated to interesting tidbits, such as G.H. Hardy's detestation of mirrors . There are brief accounts of the brilliant notation Coxeter invented, known as Coxeter diagrams, and of course, the now famous Coxeter groups. Short appendices fill in a bit more detail. It is all very well done and thoroughly engrossing.Wittgenstein befriended Coxeter, who was part of the very small group to whom …. (shrink)
Imprecise probabilism—which holds that rational belief/credence is permissibly represented by a set of probability functions—apparently suffers from a problem known as dilation. We explore whether this problem can be avoided or mitigated by one of the following strategies: (a) modifying the rule by which the credal state is updated, (b) restricting the domain of reasonable credal states to those that preclude dilation.
There are at least two plausible generalisations of subjective expected utility (SEU) theory: cumulative prospect theory (which relaxes the independence axiom) and Levi’s decision theory (which relaxes at least ordering). These theories call for a re-assessment of the minimal requirements of rational choice. Here, I consider how an analysis of sequential decision making contributes to this assessment. I criticise Hammond’s (Economica 44(176):337–350, 1977; Econ Philos 4:292–297, 1988a; Risk, decision and rationality, 1988b; Theory Decis 25:25–78, 1988c) ‘consequentialist’ argument for the SEU (...) preference axioms, but go on to formulate a related diachronic-Dutch-book-style’ argument that better achieves Hammond’s aims. Some deny the importance of Dutch-book sure losses, however, in which case, Seidenfeld’s (Econ Philos 4:267–290, 1988a) argument that distinguishes between theories that relax independence and those that relax ordering is relevant. I unravel Seidenfeld’s argument in light of the various criticisms of it and show that the crux of the argument is somewhat different and much more persuasive than what others have taken it to be; the critical issue is the modelling of future choices between ‘indifferent’ decision-tree branches in the sequential setting. Finally, I consider how Seidenfeld’s conclusions might nonetheless be resisted. (shrink)
Debates in India following on from the Shah Bano case highlight the extent to which gender equality may be compromised by yielding to the dominant voices within a particular religion or cultural tradition. As the Indian Supreme Court noted in Danial Latifi & Anr v Union of India, the pursuit of gender justice raises questions of a universal magnitude. Responding to those questions requires an appeal to norms that claim a universal legitimacy. Liberal feminist demands for a uniform civil code, (...) however, have pitted feminist movements against proponents of minority rights and claims for greater autonomy for minority groups. Against the background of growing communal tensions, many feminists have argued for more complex strategies—strategies that encompass the diversity of women's lives and create a sense of belonging amongst women with diverse religious-cultural affiliations. Liberal theories of rights that abstract from the concrete realities of women's daily lives have not always addressed the institutions and procedures necessary to build that sense of belonging. This article examines the contribution made by discourse ethics theorists to debates on models of multicultural arrangements. It argues that deliberative models of democracy recognize the need for ‘difference-sensitive’ processes of inclusion, potentially assisting feminism in resolving the apparent conflict between the politics of multiculturalism and the pursuit of gender equality. (shrink)
How do archaeologists make effective use of physical traces and material culture as repositories of evidence? Material Evidence is a collection of 19 essays that take a resolutely case-based approach to this question, exploring key instances of exemplary practice, instructive failures, and innovative developments in the use of archaeological data as evidence. The goal is to bring to the surface the wisdom of practice, teasing out norms of archaeological reasoning from evidence. -/- Archaeologists make compelling use of an enormously diverse (...) range of material evidence, from garbage dumps to monuments, from finely crafted artifacts rich with cultural significance to the inadvertent transformation of landscapes over the long term. Each contributor to Material Evidence identifies a particular type of evidence with which they grapple and considers, with reference to concrete examples, how archaeologists construct evidential claims, critically assess them, and bring them to bear on pivotal questions about the cultural past. -/- Historians, cultural anthropologists, philosophers, and science studies scholars are increasingly interested in working with material "things" as objects of inquiry and as evidence – and they acknowledge on all sides just how challenging this is. One of the central messages of the book is that close analysis of archaeological best practice can yield constructive guidelines for practice that have much to offer practitioners within archaeology and well beyond. (shrink)
Recent magnetic resonance imaging and pathological studies have indicated that axonal loss is a major contributor to disease progression in multiple sclerosis. 1 H magnetic resonance spectroscopy, through measurement of N -acetyl aspartate, a neuronal marker, provides a unique tool to investigate this. Patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis have few lesions on conventional MRI, suggesting that changes in normal appearing white matter, such as axonal loss, may be particularly relevant to disease progression in this group. To test this hypothesis (...) NAWM was studied with MRS, measuring the concentration of N -acetyl derived groups. Single-voxel MRS using a water-suppressed PRESS sequence was carried out in 24 patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis and in 16 age-matched controls. Ratios of metabolite to creatine concentration were calculated in all subjects, and absolute concentrations were measured in 18 patients and all controls. NA/Cr was significantly lower in NAWM in patients than in controls, as was the absolute concentration of NA. There was no significant difference in the absolute concentration of creatine between the groups. This study supports the hypothesis that axonal loss occurs in NAWM in primary progressive multiple sclerosis and may well be a mechanism for disease progression in this group. (shrink)
This book is intended as an exposition of a particular theory of time in the sense of an interrelated set of attempted solutions to philosophical problems about it. Generally speaking there are two views about time held by philosophers and some scientists interested in philosophical issues. The first called the A-theory (after McTaggart's expression A-determinations for the properties of being past, present or future) is often thought to be closer to our commonsense view of time or to the concept of (...) time presupposed by ordinary language. It includes at least the following theses, (a) Logic ought really to include tensed quantifiers for existence on one of its important usages means, present existence. More generally, we can't reduce all tensed locutions to tenseless ones. (b) The distinction between past, present and future is an objective one. It is not, for example, dependent on our consciousness of change; some A-theorists hold also, that the distinction, in effect, is an absolute one. (shrink)
This article is a study of the response of two heterodox schools of economic thought to ?new? philosophical ideas. Specifically, it considers the response within Post Keynesian and feminist economics to Tony Lawson's recent call for economists to pay greater attention to ontology and for economists to adopt research methods consistent with critical realism. Lawson's arguments were formally introduced to these schools over the space of a few years and continue to generate considerable discussion within their ranks. The focus of (...) analysis in this article is on the debate about Lawson's ideas published in the leading journals associated with two schools of thought: The Journal of Post Keynesian Economics and Feminist Economics. The article contrasts the reception Lawson's ideas received in each of the two journals and suggests some reasons for these differences. It argues that some barriers to the adoption of new ideas exist in each school of thought and that this has implications for the direction and content of economic thought in heterodox schools. (shrink)
Since the first lockdown in March 2020, time seems to have slowed to a continuous present tense. The Greek language has three words to express different experiences of time: aion, chronos and kairos. If aion is the boundless and limbo-like time of eternity, chronos represents chronological, sequential, and linear time. Kairos, however, signifies the rupture of ordinary time with the opportune moment, epiphany and redemption, revolution, and most broadly, crisis and emergency. This paper argues that the pandemic is impacting how (...) individuals perceive time in two ways: first, as a distortion of time in which individuals are caught between linear time (chronos) and rupture (kairos) invoking the state of emergency and second, as an extended present that blurs the passing of chronological time with its seeming eternity (aion). As a result of the perceived suspension of ordinary time, temporal understandings of the future are postponed, while the past hovers like a ghost over the present. (shrink)
Hannah Arendt?s philosophical project is an untiring attempt to argue that the world with all its failures and weaknesses does and should matter. Refusing to succumb to the destructive tendency within modernity, she cultivates creativity, action and responsibility. One way to appreciate the originality of Arendt?s philosophy of action and new beginnings is via her reading of two thinkers who were part of what she terms, ?the great tradition.? If most commentary deals either with Heidegger?s influence on Arendt?s thought or (...) with her Augustinian origins, my aim is to trace Arendt?s lifelong conversation with both thinkers. It is in her doctoral dissertation on St. Augustine that she begins to distinguish herself from Heidegger?s understanding of the world, Dasein, and care. Without arguing that her work on Augustine is a hidden key to understanding her philosophy of new beginnings, an appreciation of Arendt?s lifelong debate not only with Heidegger but also with Augustine enriches our understanding of why philosophy should pay more attention to the world, rather than try to escape from it. (shrink)
As the war in Syria and the destruction of the Calais camp in France in 2016 bitterly demonstrate, declarations of human rights and asylum devolve into empty promises without a common sense of solidarity and an implicit understanding that we share responsibility for the world and one another. Today’s refugee crisis demonstrates that many of the problems that Hannah Arendt identified during the first half of the twentieth century are still with us. National security and the state of exception increasingly (...) place refugees and migrants at the borders of international law. This article argues that Immanuel Kant’s Perpetual Peace and Arendt’s postwar reflections on the stateless as modern pariahs continue to frame current debates on hospitality, human rights, and responsibility. Without a recognition of our common humanity and shared world, sovereign states will continue to find exceptions to the legal status of refugees and migrants, thus enabling their exclusion from political life and the very laws that should protect them. Falling outside human rights law and the rights of refugees leads to the uncertainty of the pariah. (shrink)
Ambiguous Memory examines the role of memory in the building of a new national identity in reunified Germany. The author maintains that the contentious debates surrounding contemporary monumnets to the Nazi past testify to the ambiguity of German memory and the continued link of Nazism with contemporary German national identity. The book discusses how certain monuments, and the ways Germans have viewed them, contribute to the different ways Germans have dealt with the past, and how they continue to deal with (...) it as one country. Kattago concludes that West Germans have internalized their Nazi past as a normative orientation for the democratic culture of West Germany, while East Germans have universalized Nazism and the Holocaust, transforming it into an abstraction in which the Jewish question is down played. In order to form a new collective memory, the author argues that unified Germany must contend with these conflicting views of the past, incorporating certain aspects of both views. -/- Providing a topography of East, West, and unified German memory during the 1980s and the 1990s, this work contributes to a better understanding of contemporary national identity and society. The author shows how public debate over such issues at Ronald Reagan's visit to Bitburg, the renarration of Buchenwald as Nazi and Soviet internment camp, the Goldhagen controversy, and the Holocaust Memorial debate in Berlin contribute to the complexities surrounding the way Germans see themselves, their relationship to the past, and their future identity as a nation. In a careful analysis, the author shows how the past was used and abused by both the East and the West in the 1980s, and how these approaches merged in the 1990s. This interesting new work takes a sociological approach to the role of memory in forging a new, integrative national identity. (shrink)
Encountering the Past within the Present: Modern Experiences of Time examines different encounters with the past from within the present – whether as commemoration, nostalgia, silence, ghostly haunting or combinations thereof. Taking its cue from Hannah Arendt’s definition of the present as a time span lying between past and future, I reflect on the old philosophical question of how to live the good life – not only with others who are physically with us but also with those whose presence is (...) ghostly and liminal. While tradition may no longer command the same authority as it did in antiquity or the middle ages, individuals are by no means severed from the past. Rather, nostalgic longing for bygone times and traumatic preoccupation with painful historical events demonstrate the vitality of the past within the present. Divided into three parts, chapters examine ways in which the legacies of World War II, the Holocaust and communism have been remembered after 1945 and 1989. Maintaining a sustained reflection on the nexus of memory, modernity and time in tandem with ancient questions of responsibility for one another and the world, the volume contributes to the growing field of memory studies from a philosophical perspective. (shrink)
In his 1622 work The Assayer, Galileo commented on the necessity of mathematics for understanding the natural world. "Philosophy is written in this very great book. . . . It is written in mathematical language and the characters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures." More than 300 years later, debating math education at the 1958 International Congress of Mathematicians, French mathematician Jean Dieudonné interjected: "Down with Euclid! Death to triangles!".
Sydney Chapman is unanimously considered to have played a founding role in modern geomagnetism and to have opened up new lines of research in geophysics generally. Nevertheless, Chapman's conviction regarding the synthesis of the explanatory mechanisms of the atmosphere has gone practically unnoticed in the historiography of geophysics. This paper examines Chapman's contribution to ionospheric physics. It aims to understand Chapman's theory of ionospheric layer formation, and particularly its link to his theory of ozone formation. It (...) deals first with the traits which characterized Chapman's personality, as a way of explaining—and even perhaps justifying— his quest for the integration and synthesis of geophysical knowledge. It then analyses Chapman's model of ionospheric layers and his suggestions regarding its use as an operational tool , before continuing with his account of the formation of the ozone layer, which seemed to constitute the missing link for understanding ionosphere layer formation. The paper concludes with Chapman's attempt to reconcile geomagnetic and radio evidence. (shrink)
Since 1989, social change in Europe has moved between two stories. The first being a politics of memory emphasizing the specificity of culture in national narratives, and the other extolling the virtues of the Enlightenment heritage of reason and humanity. While the Holocaust forms a central part of West European collective memory, national victimhood of former Communist countries tends to occlude the centrality of the Holocaust. Highlighting examples from the Estonian experience, this article asks whether attempts to find one single (...) European memory of trauma ignore the complexity of history and are thus potentially disrespectful to those who suffered under both Communism and National Socialism. Pluralism in the sense of Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin is presented as a way in which to move beyond the settling of scores in the past and towards a respectful recognition and acknowledgement of historical difference. (shrink)