By Karl Korsch ; traducción castellana de Manuel Sacristán.
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Throughout this study we will be concerned with individual moral responsibility, with an emphasis on personal blameworthiness and praiseworthiness for one's actions. Chapter 1 is devoted primarily to defining and explaining these basic concepts of moral responsibility and contrasting them with legal responsibility. Chapter 2 addresses two basic ethical questions. The first basic question is, What makes the actions of perpetrators of the Holocaust morally wrong? As I mentioned, the nearly universal consensus that they were wrong does not suffice to show that they were.
Historians often, and quite properly, deal with human events at the level of whole societies, states, armies, and other institutions and groups, largely ignoring the individual human beings who compose them. However, when one is explaining something as dreadful and morally disturbing as the Holocaust, the need to look more deeply into the behavior of individuals and the choices they made becomes undeniable. This helps explain why Hilberg interjects a few comments about German bureaucrats' realization that they had their own individual choices to make.
Because he intentionally committed a terrible act, and he was motivated by greed and was completely callous and indifferent to the great harm he caused others. The degree Page 16 of blameworthiness increases with the seriousness of the wrong act and the badness of the motives. Consequently, he deserves to be judged adversely by others; they are morally justified in regarding him as very reprehensible and holding him in great contempt. I call this liability to judgmental blame. Being morally blameworthy for wrongdoing in this sense is the most basic kind of responsibility that I address, since elements of it are presupposed in virtually all other aspects of our social practices and institutions of holding people responsible for what they do.