David Luban, Georgetown University Law Center

Arendt on the Crime of Crimes

Date: 
Mon, 10/13/2014
Location: 
301 Marx Hall

Please join us for a LAPA Seminar with David Luban, University Professor and Professor of Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University Law Center, who will present "Arendt on the Crime of Crimes."  The commentator will be Anna Stilz, Associate Professor of Politics at Princeton.

As always, the LAPA format asks that seminar participants familiarize themselves with the paper in advance. The commentator will open the session by summarizing the main themes in the paper and presenting some topics for discussion. The author then has the right of first response before we open to the floor for questions. The seminar will end with a brief reception in the Kerstetter Room, giving everyone a chance to mingle and meet.  

Abstract: "For Hannah Arendt, genocide was the ultimate crime against humanity because destroying an entire group is an attack on "human diversity as such," which is basic to the human status. The trouble is that in her theoretical writings on human plurality, Arendt invariably means a plurality of individuals, not groups. She denies the intrinsic value of social groups, and insists that “the unitedness of many into one is basically antipolitical.” How can she square her analysis of genocide with her theory of the social? How does she understand group identity and its significance? For that matter, what does she mean by humanity? Above all, what can contemporary international criminal justice learn from Arendt's theoretical difficulties?"

David Luban is University Professor in Law and Philosophy at Georgetown, and currently Class of 1984 Distinguished Visitor in Ethics at the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, United States Naval Academy. His latest book, Torture, Power, and Law, has just been published by Cambridge University Press. He writes on legal theory, just war theory and national security, international criminal law, and professional ethics. Currently he is writing a book on Arendt as a moral and legal philosopher. 

Anna Stilz is Associate Professor of Politics at Princeton University. Her research focuses on questions of political membership, authority and political obligation, nationalism and self-determination, rights to land and territory, and collective agency. She also has a strong interest in early modern political thought (particularly 17th and 18th centuries). Her first book, Liberal Loyalty: Freedom, Obligation, and the State, (Princeton University Press, 2009), focused on questions of state authority and citizenship, examining the question of whether we have different, and perhaps more stringent, moral duties to our fellow-citizens than we do to people in foreign countries. She has also published articles in Ethics, History of European Ideas, International Theory, Journal of Political Philosophy, Law and Philosophy, Policy and Society, and Philosophy & Public Affairs