Rising from the Ruins

Reason, Being, and the Good After Auschwitz

By Garth Jackson Gillan

Subjects: World War Ii
Paperback : 9780791437346, 140 pages, May 1998
Hardcover : 9780791437339, 140 pages, May 1998

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Table of contents



1. Violence and Language

2. Death and Ontology

3. The Politics of Rupture

4. The Ethics of Heteronomy

5. The Redemption of Reason




An assessment of reason, being, and the good in a world fractured by the passage of the Holocaust.


Rising from the Ruins is an assessment of reason, being, and the good in a world fractured by the passage of the Shoah, or Holocaust. The historical character of evil that appeared in the Shoah damaged the relationship of human existence to being, creating a time when the confidence of reason to possess the truth no longer exists. Rising from the Ruins relocates the relationships among being, reason, and the good in terms of a metaphysics, ethics, and politics that derive from faith and heteronomy.

Rather than another attempt to document the horror of the Shoah, this book chronicles what the world is like for those who have read and listened to previous accounts. Rising from the Ruins doesn't celebrate surviving the Holocaust; instead, it speaks of a rationality that sees truth and the good through the eyes of suffering and the silence of death. Such a rationality, Gillan suggests, looks more like faith, and it takes its place among the sweat and tears of common men and women who are dedicated to building a human city, populated with children, the poor, the sick, and the aged.

Garth Jackson Gillan is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is the author of Horizons of the Flesh: Critical Perspectives on the Thought of Merleau-Ponty; and From Sign to Symbol; and coauthor, with Charles Lemert, of Michel Foucault: Social Theory and Transgression.


"This is a very serious and important work, challenging basic assumptions about reason itself. I like most its evident thoughtfulness, independence, broadness, and depth, as well as its recognition of the profound significance of Auschwitz for thinking, being, and moral life. " — Richard Cohen, University of North Carolina at Charlotte