Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ethics of Memory” as Want to Read:
The Ethics of Memory
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ethics of Memory

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Much of the intense current interest in collective memory concerns the politics of memory. In a book that asks, "Is there an ethics of memory?" Avishai Margalit addresses a separate, perhaps more pressing, set of concerns.

The idea he pursues is that the past, connecting people to each other, makes possible the kinds of "thick" relations we can call truly ethical. Thick rel
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 15th 2004 by Harvard University Press (first published 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ethics of Memory, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Ethics of Memory

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  97 ratings  ·  11 reviews

Sort order
Catherine Roehl
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The book's main idea is that human beings have an ethical obligation to remember past persons and events. Margalit maintains that the source of this obligation to remember comes from the effort of radical evil forces to undermine morality by rewriting the past and controlling collective memory. Margalit argues that it is necessary for community to have collective memories in order to achieve a level of repentance and reconciliation. The text suggest that this ethical communal memory can not be u ...more
Bryan Kibbe
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recently I visited Powell's bookstore in Portland, Oregon. Like the Merchant Mart in Chicago, Powell's Bookstore occupies an entire city block. Succinctly put, Powell's is a book lovers paradise. Part of what make it so interesting and wonderful is the endless opportunities for serendipitous discoveries of new books. The Ethics of Memory was one such serendipitous discovery as I trawled through the expansive philosophy section. I am glad I found this little book as it has added clarity to both m ...more
Katie Stafford
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book very much. If you are looking for a modern book of moral philosophy that is relevant, clear, engaging and well written this book is for you. Margalit differentiates morality from ethics by connecting ethics with "thick relations" and morality with "thin relations." I especially appreciated Margalit's analysis of judeo-christian and biblical memory and their connection to humanism. Ultimately, the book leads to the importance of human forgiveness as covering up rather than blo ...more
Tim and Popie Stafford
I like his writing.... but it is philosophy, which means for me there are all sorts of fascinating points made that I can't remember or apply at the end. He's respectful of religion, and uses many religious (scriptural) examples, but it's an attempt at a purely humanistic ethics. I'm not sure how successful that is.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
As stated in the preface, this small book is a collection of lectures (a format I always have problem with) with an approach stressed on examples and light on principles (a bit like Zizek, not really my favorite). A reader more in tune with this style may give it a higher rating.

I would recommend chapter 1 (on remembering a name and the role of memory in caring), chapter 2 (on collective memory and the social obligation to remember) and chapter 6 (on the relationship between forgetting and forg

I have NO clue why this book has only NINE reviews on Amazon. That alone tells me there's no justice at all to this business of book popularity. Lucidly written, accessible, yet erudite, fascinating, and so convincingly argued deserves a much, much wider audience than the Amazon reviews indicate. It's a rich philosophical work that's actually relevant to all of us—in the way John Gray's books are—and I've learned so much about forgiveness, ethics vs. morality, remembering vs. forgetting
Casey Smith
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book!
May 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
very thought-provoking short book.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I enjoyed it. Well written, and something new to think about.
Meryll Levine Page
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is rich and thoughtful but needs to be read in small bursts of concentration.
Dave Peticolas
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it

A philosopher explores our obligation to remember the past.

rated it really liked it
Apr 13, 2017
Danu Poyner
rated it really liked it
Oct 29, 2013
rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2012
rated it it was amazing
May 22, 2016
rated it it was amazing
May 12, 2009
Amirul Fitri
rated it it was amazing
Oct 24, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jan 04, 2010
Heather Walsh
rated it did not like it
Apr 13, 2013
Jurgis Liepnieks
rated it liked it
Aug 06, 2017
Fabiano Curi
rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2014
rated it really liked it
Apr 24, 2012
rated it really liked it
Aug 22, 2009
rated it liked it
Jul 29, 2007
rated it liked it
May 16, 2012
Adam Gossman
rated it really liked it
Apr 15, 2017
Alina Claudio
rated it it was amazing
Feb 20, 2019
Sophie Merrill
rated it liked it
Apr 25, 2017
Adam Dupaski
rated it liked it
Jul 04, 2009
Jordi Gabriel
rated it liked it
Jan 25, 2018
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
“The horror of falling into utter oblivion is not necessarily the fear of what will happen to us after death but of what it says about our relationships now. It is the fear of not amounting to much in our present relations with others.” 0 likes
“Communities must make decisions and establish institutions that foster forgetting as much as remembering. Shredding the personal files of old Stasi (the former Fast Germany secret services) is an example of a communal decision to forget.” 0 likes
More quotes…