Apologising for the past: German science and nazi medicine

Science and Engineering Ethics 8 (1):31-42 (2002)
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Abstract

Recently, religious organisations, governments and public institutions have begun to offer apologies for historical wrongs. Can they legitimately do so? Departing from the tendency, Professor Hubert Markl, President of the Max Planck Society, has offered strong reasons for not apologising for the crimes of medical scientists who experimented on human subjects during the Nazi era. He argues that only the perpetrators can meaningfully apologise. Markl’'s position is considered and rejected in favour of the view that apologies by proxy for historical wrongs are justifiable and should be made by institutions that have the authority to do so.

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Damian Grace
University of Sydney

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