What is involved in forgiving?

Philosophia 25 (1-4):33-49 (1997)
I have argued that forgiveness paradigmatically involves overcoming moral anger, of which resentment is the central case. I have argued, as well, that forgiveness may involve overcoming any form of anger so long as the belief that you have been wrongfully harmed is partially constitutive of it, and that overcoming other negative emotions caused by a wrongdoer's misdeed may, given appropriate qualifications, count as forgiveness. Those qualifications indicate, however, significant differences between moral anger and other negative emotions; differences which must be taken into account when determining whether overcoming negative emotions other than moral anger count as forgiveness. I have proposed, too, that forgiveness requires neither overcoming all negative feelings (other than moral anger) nor the judgment that the offender is a wrongdoer.I must acknowledge that my analysis is incomplete, focusing as it does on the forgiver rather than on the person forgiven. After all, there are two sides to forgiveness. Not all forgiving involves a struggle to overcome negative feelings; sometimes it is a social transaction of a more casual sort that is effected by the simple speech act “I forgive you.” My analysis is incomplete insofar as it treats exclusively of forgiveness as a process and fails to offer an analysis of forgiveness as an act. Finally, a complete theory of forgiveness requires an account of the conditions under which forgiveness qualifies as a moral virtue, and such an account is beyond the scope of this essay. Though I have not offered a complete theory of forgiveness, my effort to clarify a dimension of what is involved in a common type of forgiveness may clear the way for answering related questions about it, and thereby lead to a fuller account of forgiveness as a moral phenomenon
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Ethics   Philosophy of Language   Philosophy of Mind   Philosophy of Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF02380023
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 20,856
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Lucy Allais (2008). Wiping the Slate Clean: The Heart of Forgiveness. Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (1):33–68.
Brandon Warmke (2015). The Economic Model of Forgiveness. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4).
Glen Pettigrove (2012). Forgiveness Without God? Journal of Religious Ethics 40 (3):518-544.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Louis Swift (2001). Giving and Forgiving. Augustinian Studies 32 (1):25-36.
Glen Pettigrove (2006). Hannah Arendt and Collective Forgiving. Journal of Social Philosophy 37 (4):483–500.
David Novitz (1998). Forgiveness and Self-Respect. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):299-315.
David T. Ozar (2008). Forgiving and Hoping. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 82:163-172.
Paul M. Hughes (1995). Moral Anger, Forgiving, and Condoning. Journal of Social Philosophy 26 (1):103-118.
Glen Pettigrove (2007). Understanding, Excusing, Forgiving. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):156–175.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

45 ( #93,310 of 1,906,955 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #129,680 of 1,906,955 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.