Unthinkable ≠ Unknowable: On Charlotte Delbo’s ‘II Faut Donner à Voir’

Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (3):457-468 (2014)
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Abstract

This paper is an attempt to articulate and defend a new imperative, Auschwitz survivor Charlotte Delbo’s 'Il faut donner à voir': “They must be made to see.” Assuming the ‘they’ in Delbo’s imperative is ‘us’ gives rise to three questions: (1) what must we see? (2) can we see it? and (3) why is it that we must? I maintain that what we must see is the reality of evil; that we are by and large unwilling, and often unable, to see the reality of evil; and that if there is to be comprehension of—to say nothing of justice for—the survivors of evil, we nonetheless must.

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Paul Warden Prescott
Hunter College (CUNY)

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