The Duty to Forgive Repentant Wrongdoers

The purpose of this paper is to consider the question of whether we have a duty to forgive those who repent and apologize for the wrong they have done. I shall argue that we have a pro tanto duty to forgive repentant wrongdoers, and I shall propose and consider the norm of forgiveness. This norm states that if a wrongdoer repents and apologizes to a victim, then the victim has a duty to forgive the wrongdoer, other things being equal. That someone has a pro tanto duty to forgive a repentant wrongdoer means that he or she ought to forgive unless other considerations outweigh the norm of forgiveness. Furthermore, a distinction is made between what are termed 'general considerations' and 'case-relative considerations', and it is argued that only after all the relevant considerations have been examined can it be determined whether there is a duty to forgive, all things considered.
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DOI 10.1080/09672559.2010.528602
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References found in this work BETA
Thomas Scanlon (1998). What We Owe to Each Other. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
John Rawls (2009/2005). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press 133-135.
Lucy Allais (2008). Wiping the Slate Clean: The Heart of Forgiveness. Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (1):33–68.

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