Forgiveness in Context

Journal of Moral Education 29 (1):75-86 (2000)
This article compares Enright's cognitive-developmental model of forgiveness (Enright et al., 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994) with a model of forgiveness based on communication between the wronged and the wrongdoer. While unilateral forgiveness is unconditional and is a process which happens wholly within the person who has suffered an injustice, negotiated forgiveness requires of the wrongdoer (1) confession; (2) ownership; and (3) repentance for their actions. Unilateral forgiveness is built upon the principle of identity; in contrast, negotiated forgiveness begins with, and extends Piaget's principle of ideal reciprocity. Enright's highest stage of forgiveness reasoning is one in which considerations of social context are transcended; in the model of negotiated forgiveness, such understanding of context is central. Whereas unilateral forgiveness is a wholly intraindividual phenomenon, negotiated forgiveness is quintessentially social and dynamic. Using the example of truth and reconciliation commissions, the article examines the implications for the relationship between justice and forgiveness, according to each model
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