Forgiveness: A Cognitive-Motivational Anatomy

This work aims to identify the constituents of forgiveness in terms of the forgiver's beliefs and motivating goals. After addressing the antecedents of forgiveness—a perceived wrong—and distinguishing the notion of mere harm from that of offense, we describe the victim's typical retributive reactions—revenge and resentment—and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. Then we focus on the forgiver's mind-set, pointing to the relationship between forgiveness and acceptance of the wrong, addressing the forgiver's motivating goals, and discussing both their self-interested and altruistic implications. In so doing we also discuss the role of the forgiver's positive feelings towards the offender, arguing that, however important, they are unnecessary to forgiveness. We finally identify two kinds of forgiveness—conditional and unconditional—suggesting that they are grounded on different notions of “worth.”
Keywords perceived wrong  resentment  forgiveness  acceptance  empathic feelings
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-5914.2011.00465.x
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References found in this work BETA
Nico H. Frijda (1986). The Emotions. Cambridge University Press.
John Rawls (2009/2005). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press 133-135.

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Cristiano Castelfranchi (2014). Minds as Social Institutions. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (1):121-143.

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