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[Xmca-l] Re: Appeal for help

I hated the book and the movie, but I agree that we need to think about it.
Oskar Schindler was an inept war profiteer who spent some of his profits on
his workers. The 1200 odd lives he saved were more than compensated for by
the contributions he made to the Nazi war effort, as a spy, a businessman
and even an arms manufacturer.

Madeleine Steinberg and her husband were family friends. Madeleine was
Catholic, but she was half-English, so she was interned first at Vittel in
France as an enemy national and then deported to Theresienstadt. There she
saved hundreds of people, many of them still living, by forging baptismal
certificates for the children on the trains passing through the camp on the
way to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. At Auschwitz, her future husband
Jean-Lous was a member of a secret resistance run by Russian prisoners of
war, who taught inmates how to keep clean and how to make the most of their
rations. Madeleine died four years ago, and I last saw Jean-Louis just
before he died at the end of January this year.

Neither one was or ever will be celebrated by Hollywood or buried in
Jerusalem as Schindler was. In fact, both were denied visas to come and
visit us  in the USA for many years (and when Jean-Louis finally did get a
visa, he collected an amazing array of speeding tickets from what looked
like all fifty states). Schindler was a paid up member of the Nazi Party,
but Madeline and Jean-Louis (until they resigned in disgust over Maurice
Thorez's opposition to legal abortion) were members of the Communist Party
of France. You might say they belonged to very different ethical projects.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 9:00 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> A fascinating example, David. I love that book/movie. His project was
> objective enough, even if it had to be disguised and had this really odd
> admixture with his own origins as a money-grubber. :) The story has him
> going to a key figure within the Warsaw ghetto apparently with a clear
> mutual-benefit deal to offer, but I get the impression that participation
> in the project of tricking the nazis and saving Jews from under their noses
> just gradually drew him in and molded him to its own virtues. I'll have to
> think about it. :)
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden
> http://home.mira.net/~andy
> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
> On 5/07/2016 9:53 PM, David H Kirshner wrote:
>> Andy,
>> Oskar Schindler comes to mind as one who underwent a moral transition
>> owing to cultural circumstances.
>> His early life trajectory was as an opportunist, flattering, bribing, and
>> ingratiating himself with representatives of the power structure, spying
>> for the Nazis against Czechoslovakia, and then moving to Krakow to
>> profiteer from the impending war. Later, he used his treasure and put
>> himself at risk to save Jews from the Holocaust (in 1944 he was held in
>> prison for about a week on suspicion that he was attempting to improve the
>> conditions of his Jewish workers).
>> The challenge, in terms of analyzing this transition in terms of a
>> "project," is that the project was internal; his immediate social milieu
>> was the Nazis and their collaborators.
>> David
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
>> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
>> Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2016 12:38 AM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Appeal for help
>> Comrade and friends, I need some help.
>> I am setting about developing a new approach to virtue ethics. Virtues
>> are everywhere taken to be deep-seated attributes of a person's character;
>> my aim is to make the starting point instead from virtues defined as
>> deep-seated attributes of a project, which you can take to mean "social
>> context" or "system of activity" if you wish. I don't need advice about
>> issues and problems of ethics, but it is in in the nature of virtue ethics
>> that it always has strong implications for psychology as well as social
>> theory, to the extent that I think I can make a great deal of progress by
>> calling on psychological data.
>> Can people point me to research(ers) about how a person's character
>> changes with social context (e.g. home/work), any evidence of the
>> well-known phenomenon in which a person promoted above the ability suffers
>> a moral degeneration; any suitable and reliable data about the differing
>> character (not just preferences or cognition, but virtues) of people from
>> one culture or another? or similar information about changes in a person's
>> character following their emigration to another country?
>> URLs appreciated, or whole books, I don't have access to a university
>> library or JSTOR.
>> Thanks
>> Andy
>> --
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> Andy Blunden
>> http://home.mira.net/~andy
>> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making