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The End of Moral Relativism? The Nuremberg Trials & Morality

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Ethics Talk

Ethics Talk


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The historic trials of high ranking Nazi officials after World War 2 introduced "crimes against humanity" to the list of international crimes.  In this show, we focus on "crimes against humanity" and the debate surrounding this category of crime.  At the heart of this debate is the philosophical question about the nature of morality, and its relationship to the law and state sovereignty.  Do other countries have the duty and the right to hold leaders accountable if they commit atrocities against their own people ?  Were the Nuremberg trials simply another instance of the claim that justice and morality are nothing but "the interest of the stronger"?   By focusing on the Nuremberg trials and the charge of  "crimes against humanity," we will show how this philosophical debate has unfolded and implicated the international justice system.