The Duty to Remember: Considering Prisoners of War and The Missing in Action (POW/MIA) as a Case Study in the Ethics of Memory Ethics-Talk: The Greatest Good of Man is Daily to Converse About Virtue

    • Philosophy

In his book “The Ethics of Memory”(Harvard 2004) philosopher Avishai Margalit argues that although we have a duty to remember others, the nature of those duties shifts depending on our specific relationship to “the other”. We have a duty to remember friends and family, but that duty is weaker and even non-existent if the other is a stranger. In today’s show, we use the issue of Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) to reflect on Margalit’s theory and other moral questions connected to our duties to the Missing, to the dead, and to their families. The familiar POW/MIA flag (created during the Vietnam War) states “You are Not Forgotten,” betokening a moral duty to remember. September 18, 2020 was National POW/MIA Recognition Day and this show is the first in a series in which we engage in an extended discussion of Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) and their families. Joining us is documentary filmmaker Kevyn Settle who has done extensive research on the POW/MIA issue and has recently made a moving film, Fruits of Peace, that includes the story of how the Vietnam War helped shape our Duty to Remember.

In his book “The Ethics of Memory”(Harvard 2004) philosopher Avishai Margalit argues that although we have a duty to remember others, the nature of those duties shifts depending on our specific relationship to “the other”. We have a duty to remember friends and family, but that duty is weaker and even non-existent if the other is a stranger. In today’s show, we use the issue of Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) to reflect on Margalit’s theory and other moral questions connected to our duties to the Missing, to the dead, and to their families. The familiar POW/MIA flag (created during the Vietnam War) states “You are Not Forgotten,” betokening a moral duty to remember. September 18, 2020 was National POW/MIA Recognition Day and this show is the first in a series in which we engage in an extended discussion of Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) and their families. Joining us is documentary filmmaker Kevyn Settle who has done extensive research on the POW/MIA issue and has recently made a moving film, Fruits of Peace, that includes the story of how the Vietnam War helped shape our Duty to Remember.

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