Mgr Justyna Jezierska
University of Wrocław
Abstract: This article concerns guilt as a concept which lies at the intersection of law and philosophy. My reflections are founded on Karl Jaspers’ lectures entitled The Question of German Guilt. Jaspers distinguished four types of guilt: criminal, political, moral, and metaphysical. This distinction was made immediately after the Second World War, during the Nuremberg trials, when the problem of the German guilt was widely debated – both by the Allies, the victors, and in the German society. What is superimposed on this distinction is the issues of collective and individual guilt. A clear demarcation was intended (according to the philosopher himself) to clarify these issues and to come to the truth. My task in this text was to present Karl Jaspers’ guilt theory, to explain its ambiguous fragments, to challenge the objections against this theory, and to attempt to apply it to the Polish discussion about lustration.
Keywords: guilt, political responsibility, collective guilt, individual guilt, lustration, memory studies
Published: Number 2(17)/2018, pp. 90-101.