This chapter reflects on the curious puzzle of how identity can influence moral choice, and why. In so doing the chapter discusses the background context within which this volume operates, as it traces an initial intellectual objective of explaining the psychology of genocide to an exploration of how the themes found in the Holocaust resonate with other periods of genocide, other instances of ethnic cleansing, other acts of prejudice, discrimination and group hatred, and animosity, just as they resonate with other instances of compassion, heroic altruism, and moral courage. The psychological forces at work during the Holocaust, this chapter argues, partake of the same political psychology underlying other political acts driven by identity. From here, the chapter develops a new theory of moral choice to tackle these issues and gives a brief overview of the succeeding chapters.
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