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Publication Details

Jankélévitch and Ricœur on the Duty of Memory

(Original title: Jankélévitch a Ricœur o povinnosti pamäti)
Filozofia, 76 (2021), 4, 267 – 280.
Type of work: Original Articles
Publication language: Slovak

This article deals with a specific dimension of collective memory – the duty of memory. It focuses on two philosophical approaches concerning the question of the duty of memory, as represented, on the one hand, by occasional texts of V. Jankélévitch published in the works Imprescriptible (1986), or in Lʼesprit de résistance (2015), and, on the other hand, the monumental work of P. Ricoeur Mémoire, histoire, oubli (2000). In the current discourse on memory and the duty of memory, the work of Ricoeur is considered to be a point of reference, while Jankélévitch’s views on this question have remained on the fringes of interest – which is, according to the author, unjustified. The article analyses the main philosophical arguments in favour of the idea of the duty of memory, and also justified doubts and reservations. The aim of the article is to show that both of the examined approaches – despite being different from each other - the duty of memory retains its relevance and meaning, regardless of the criticism that considers this concept a possible tool of memory abuse. The author finds a strong argument for categorically rejecting the tendency to forget the Holocaust and defends the duty of memory in Jankélévitch’s philosophical analysis of the nature of Holocaust (as a “counter-natural”, “metaphysical” crime, based on the denial of the principle of ontological equality of all people). According to the author, the question of the duty of memory is a question of the struggle to protect fundamental human rights and values of European civilization.


Duty of memory, Fair memory, Holocaust, Misuse of memory, P. Ricoeur, Prohibition of forgetting, V. Jankélévitch

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