David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Should There Be an Apology for American Slavery? 21 (2):125-148 (2007)
Contemporary white Americans cannot meaningfully ask forgiveness from present-day African Americans for slavery, because such a group apology does not have the mental state needed to communicate regret and intend that listeners forgive the group. Even if the requisite mental state were present, contemporary white Americans are not responsible for the wrong and cannot apologize for wrongs for which they are not responsible. Additionally, such a purported apology is not directed to the victims of the wrong but instead seeks forgiveness from present-day citizens who were not enslaved and could not therefore accept such an apology on behalf of the slaves.
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