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  1. Kantian Forgiveness: Fallibility, Guilt and the Need to Become a Better Person: Reply to Blöser.Paula Satne - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (5):1997-2019.
    In ‘Human Fallibility and the Need for Forgiveness’, Claudia Blöser has proposed a Kantian account of our reasons to forgive that situates our moral fallibility as their ultimate ground. Blöser argues that Kant’s duty to be forgiving is grounded on the need to be relieved from the burden of our moral failure, a need that we all have in virtue of our moral fallible nature, regardless of whether or not we have repented. Blöser claims that Kant’s proposal yields a plausible (...)
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  • Crossroads of Forgiveness: A Transcendent Understanding of Forgiveness in Kierkegaard’s Religious Writings and Immanent Account of Forgiveness in Contemporary Secular and Christian Ethics.Andrzej Słowikowski - 2019 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 87 (1):55-80.
    This paper is an attempt to clash the problem of forgiveness as formulated in contemporary secular and Christian ethics with Kierkegaard’s considerations concerning this issue. Kierkegaard’s thought is increasingly used in the modern debate on forgiveness. It is therefore worth investigating whether Kierkegaard’s considerations are really able to overcome in any way contemporary disputes concerning this problem or enrich our thinking in this area. The main thesis of this paper states that there is a fundamental, ontological difference between Kierkegaard’s understanding (...)
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  • Forgiveness and Moral Development.Paula Satne - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1029-1055.
    Forgiveness is clearly an important aspect of our moral lives, yet surprisingly Kant, one of the most important authors in the history of Western ethics, seems to have very little to say about it. Some authors explain this omission by noting that forgiveness sits uncomfortably in Kant’s moral thought: forgiveness seems to have an ineluctably ‘elective’ aspect which makes it to a certain extent arbitrary; thus it stands in tension with Kant’s claim that agents are autonomous beings, capable of determining (...)
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  • Elective Forgiveness.Lucy Allais - 2013 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 21 (5):1-17.
    This paper examines the idea that forgiveness requires, either for its existence or for its justification, the meeting of moral and epistemic conditions which show that resentment is no longer warranted. I argue that this idea results in over-intellectualizing and over-moralizing forgiveness, and in failing to accommodate its elective nature. I sketch an alternative account, which appeals to the differences between emotions and beliefs, and the idea that we have more rational optionality with respect to emotions.
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  • The Ethics of Forgiveness: A Collection of Essays. [REVIEW]Christopher Cowley - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (2):289-294.
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Volume 20, Issue 2, Page 289-294, May 2012.
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  • Reply to Griswold, Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration. [REVIEW]Michele Moody-Adams - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (3):429-437.
    This paper replies to the account of forgiveness developed in Griswold’s Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration. It defends the idea that “unilateral” forgiveness is the paradigm case of the virtue of forgiveness, rejecting Griswold’s claims that forgiveness is essentially a “dyadic” virtue, and that reconciliation of the wronged party with the wrongdoer is a defining element of forgiveness. Forgiveness is fundamentally a matter of being reconciled to the persistence of human wrongdoing, as expressed in particular instances. Reconciliation may well be essential (...)
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  • Two Arguments Against the Punishment-Forbearance Account of Forgiveness.Brandon Warmke - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):915-920.
    One account of forgiveness claims that to forgive is to forbear punishment. Call this the Punishment-Forbearance Account of forgiveness. In this paper I argue that forbearing punishment is neither necessary nor sufficient for forgiveness.
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  • Articulate Forgiveness and Normative Constraints.Brandon Warmke - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):1-25.
    Philosophers writing on forgiveness typically defend the Resentment Theory of Forgiveness, the view that forgiveness is the overcoming of resentment. Rarely is much more said about the nature of resentment or how it is overcome when one forgives. Pamela Hieronymi, however, has advanced detailed accounts both of the nature of resentment and how one overcomes resentment when one forgives. In this paper, I argue that Hieronymi’s account of the nature of forgiveness is committed to two implausible claims about the norms (...)
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  • Supererogatory Forgiveness.Espen Gamlund - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (6):540-564.
    While forgiveness is widely recognised as an example of a supererogatory action, it remains to be explained precisely what makes forgiveness supererogatory, or the circumstances under which it is supererogatory to forgive. Philosophers often claim that forgiveness is supererogatory, but most of the time they do so without offering an adequate explanation for why it is supererogatory to forgive. Accordingly, the literature on forgiveness lacks a sufficiently nuanced account of the supererogatory status of forgiveness. In this paper, I seek to (...)
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  • How Not to Think About Forgiveness.Matt Waldschlagel - 2016 - Social Philosophy Today 32:137-151.
    It is commonly held that the reason we ought to forgive those who wrong or harm us is to overcome the stranglehold that the vindictive passions or negative emotions have over us. On this common account, the driving reason to forgive someone else for the harm they have caused or the wrong they have done to us is to heal oneself. I find this account wrongheaded, as it runs the risk of treating forgiveness as a facile panacea which fails to (...)
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  • Reasonable Responses: The Thought of Trudy Govier.Hundleby Catherine (ed.) - 2017 - Windsor: University of Windsor.
    This tribute to the breadth and influence of Trudy Govier’s philosophical work begins with her early scholarship in argumentation theory, paying special attention to its pedagogical expression. Most people first encounter Trudy Govier’s work and many people only encounter it through her textbooks, especially A Practical Study of Argument, published in many editions. In addition to the work on argumentation that has continued throughout her career, much of Govier’s later work addresses social philosophy and the problems of trust and response (...)
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  • Forgiveness and the Significance of Wrongs.Stefan Riedener - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    According to the standard account of forgiveness, you forgive your wrongdoer by overcoming your resentment towards them. But how exactly must you overcome your resentment, and when is it fitting to do so? I introduce a novel version of the standard account to answer these questions. The negative reactive attitudes are a fitting response not just to someone’s blameworthiness, but to their blameworthiness being significant for you, or worthy of your caring. Someone’s blameworthiness is significant for you to the extent (...)
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  • Against Elective Forgiveness.Per-Erik Milam - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):569-584.
    It is often claimed both that forgiveness is elective and that forgiveness is something that we do for reasons. However, there is a tension between these two central claims about the nature of forgiveness. If forgiving is something one does for reasons, then, at least sometimes, those reasons may generate a requirement to forgive or withhold forgiveness. While not strictly inconsistent with electivity, the idea of required forgiveness strikes some as antithetical to the spirit of the concept. They argue that (...)
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  • Amnesties and Forgiveness.Patrick Lenta - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-18.
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  • Accepting Forgiveness.Jeffrey S. Helmreich - forthcoming - The Journal of Ethics:1-25.
    Forgiving wrongdoers who neither apologized, nor sought to make amends in any way, is controversial. Even defenders of the practice agree with critics that such “unilateral” forgiveness involves giving up on the meaningful redress that victims otherwise justifiably demand from their wrongdoers: apology, reparations, repentance, and so on. Against that view, I argue here that when a victim of wrongdoing sets out to grant forgiveness to her offender, and he in turn accepts her forgiveness, he thereby serves some important ends (...)
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  • Can God Forgive Our Trespasses?N. Verbin - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (2):181-199.
    Believers regularly refer to God as “forgiving and merciful” when praying for divine forgiveness. If one is committed to divine immutability and impassability, as Maimonides is, one must deny that God is capable, in principle, of acting in a forgiving manner. If one rejects divine impassability, maintaining that God has a psychology, as Muffs does, one must reckon with biblical depictions of divine vengeance and rage. Such depictions suggest that while being capable, in principle, of acting in a forgiving way, (...)
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  • Hope as Grounds for Forgiveness.Heidi Chamberlin Giannini - 2017 - Journal of Religious Ethics 45 (1):58-82.
    It is widely assumed that Christianity enjoins its followers to practice universal, unconditional forgiveness. But universal, unconditional forgiveness is regarded by many as morally problematic. Some Christian scholars have denied that Christianity in fact requires universal, unconditional forgiveness, but I believe they are mistaken. In this essay, I show two things: that Christianity does enjoin universal, unconditional forgiveness of a certain sort, and that Christians, and perhaps other theists, are always justified in exercising unconditional forgiveness. Though most philosophers treat forgiveness (...)
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  • Can Isaac Forgive Abraham?Mitchell J. Gauvin - 2017 - Journal of Religious Ethics 45 (1):83-103.
    Forgiveness is an expression that befits agents who are at heart morally frail and imperfect. There is strong disagreement regarding its structure, conditions, and permissibility. Søren Kierkegaard's pseudonymously authored Fear and Trembling—already well understood as a challenge to our understanding of faith, religion, and the moral law through its focus on the biblical tale of Abraham's binding of Isaac—offers an indirect challenge to our understanding of forgiveness. Isaac is too often overlooked as characterless and philosophically uninteresting. What such a reading (...)
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  • Wiping the Slate Clean: The Heart of Forgiveness.Lucy Allais - 2008 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (1):33–68.
  • How is Self-Forgiveness Possible?Per-Erik Milam - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1).
    The idea of self-forgiveness poses a serious challenge to any philosopher interested in giving a general account of forgiveness. On the one hand, it is an uncontroversial part of our common psychological and moral discourse. On the other, any account of self-forgiveness is inconsistent with any general account of forgiveness which implies that only the victim of an offense can forgive. To avoid this conclusion, one must either challenge the particular claims that preclude self-forgiveness or offer an independently plausible account (...)
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  • The Economic Model of Forgiveness.Brandon Warmke - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4):570-589.
    It is sometimes claimed that forgiveness involves the cancellation of a moral debt. This way of speaking about forgiveness exploits an analogy between moral forgiveness and economic debt-cancellation. Call the view that moral forgiveness is like economic debt-cancellation the Economic Model of Forgiveness. In this article I articulate and motivate the model, defend it against some recent objections, and pose a new puzzle for this way of thinking about forgiveness.
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  • Human Fallibility and the Need for Forgiveness.Claudia Blöser - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (1):1-19.
    This article proposes a Kantian account of our reasons to forgive that situates our moral fallibility as their ultimate ground. I explore similarities and differences between Kant’s account in the Doctrine of Virtue and the more recent account offered by Garrard and McNaughton, 39–60, 2003). After tracing the connection between moral fallibility and moral luck, I discuss Kant’s argument for a duty to be forgiving. Kant’s strategy yields a plausible account of the normative status of forgiveness: Although we generally have (...)
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  • Reactive Attitudes, Forgiveness, and the Second-Person Standpoint.Alexandra Couto - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (5):1309-1323.
    Philosophers discussing forgiveness have usually been split between those who think that forgiveness is typically virtuous, even when the wrongdoer doesn’t repent, and those who think that, for forgiveness to be virtuous, certain pre-conditions must be satisfied. I argue that Darwall’s second-personal account of morality offers significant theoretical support for the latter view. I argue that if, as Darwall claims, reactive attitudes issue a demand, this demand needs to be adequately answered for forgiveness to be warranted. It follows that we (...)
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  • The Enigma of Forgiveness.Michele Moody-Adams - 2015 - Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2):161-180.
    For at least two millennia, religious traditions, spiritual communities and secular moral thinkers have debated the nature and sources of forgiveness. But near the end of the twentieth century understanding forgiveness took on new urgency, as divided societies looked to forgiveness as a vehicle of reconciliation, governments sought forgiveness for past wrongs, and popular psychology explored the therapeutic effects of forgiveness. These developments have led to a remarkable increase in scholarship on forgiveness: philosophers examine its moral nature; psychologists seek to (...)
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  • Unilateral Forgiveness and the Task of Reconciliation.Jeremy Watkins - 2015 - Res Publica 21 (1):19-42.
    Although forgiveness is often taken to bear a close connection to the value of reconciliation, there is a good deal of scepticism about its role in situations where there is no consensus on the moral complexion of the past and no admission of guilt on the part of the perpetrator. This scepticism is typically rooted in the claims that forgiveness without perpetrator acknowledgement aggravates the risk of recidivism; yields a substandard and morally compromised form of political accommodation; and comes across (...)
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  • The Heart of the Matter: Forgiveness as an Aesthetic Process.A. G. Holdier - 2016 - In Court Lewis (ed.), The Philosophy of Forgiveness - Volume II: New Dimensions of Forgiveness. Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press. pp. 47-70.
    This paper assesses the aesthetic components of the experience of forgiveness to develop a procedural model of the phenomenological process that negotiates cognitive judgments and understanding with emotional affective states. By bringing the Greek concepts of kalokagathia and eudaimonia into conversation with Ricoeur’s “solicitude,” I suggest that the impetus for engaging in the process of forgiveness is best understood narratively as the pursuit of a life well lived (in terms of beauty). Consequently, forgiveness is revealed as a technique for developing (...)
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  • Forgiveness and the Multiple Functions of Anger.Antony G. Aumann & Zac Cogley - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy of Emotion 1 (1):44-71.
    This paper defends an account of forgiveness that is sensitive to recent work on anger. Like others, we claim anger involves an appraisal, namely that someone has done something wrong. But, we add, anger has two further functions. First, anger communicates to the wrongdoer that her act has been appraised as wrong and demands she feel guilty. This function enables us to explain why apologies make it reasonable to forgo anger and forgive. Second, anger sanctions the wrongdoer for what she (...)
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  • Is There a Right to Be Forgiven?Luke Maring - 2020 - Philosophia (3):1-15.
    Imagine a case of wrongdoing—not something trivial, but nothing so serious that adequate reparations are impossible. Imagine, further, that the wrongdoer makes those reparations and sincerely apologizes. Does she have a moral right to be forgiven? The standard view is that she does not, but this paper contends that the standard view is mistaken. It begins by showing that the arguments against a right to be forgiven are inconclusive. It ends by making two arguments in defense of that right.
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  • Forgiveness and Respect for Persons.Owen Ware - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (3).
    The concept of respect for persons is often rejected as a basis for understanding forgiveness. As many have argued, to hold your offender responsible for her actions is to respect her as a person; but this kind of respect is more likely to sustain, rather than dissolve, your resentment toward her (Garrard & McNaughton 2003; 2011; Allais 2008). I seek to defend an alternative view in this paper. To forgive, on my account, involves ceasing to identify your offender with her (...)
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  • Punishment and Forgiveness.Justin Tosi & Brandon Warmke - 2017 - In Jonathan Jacobs & Jonathan Jackson (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics. Routledge. pp. 203-216.
    In this paper we explore the relationship between forgiving and punishment. We set out a number of arguments for the claim that if one forgives a wrongdoer, one should not punish her. We then argue that none of these arguments is persuasive. We conclude by reflecting on the possibility of institutional forgiveness in the criminal justice setting and on the differences between forgiveness and acts of mercy.
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  • Personal and Redemptive Forgiveness.Christopher Bennett - 2003 - European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):127-144.
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  • Apologies.Luc Bovens - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):219-239.
    There is a cognitive, an affective, a conative, and an attitudinal component to a genuine apology. In discussing these components, I address the following questions. Might apologies be due for non-culpable actions? Might apologies be due for choices in moral dilemmas? What is the link between sympathy, remorse and making amends? Is it meaningful for resilient akratics to apologize? How much moral renewal is required when one apologizes? Why should apologies be offered in a humble manner? And is there some (...)
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  • The Impossible Demand of Forgiveness.Steven Gormley - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (1):27-48.
    Drawing on Jacques Derrida’s work, I argue that neither of the two standard accounts of forgiveness offer an adequate understanding of forgiveness. Conditional accounts insist on specifying the conditions an offender needs to satisfy in order to count as deserving of forgiveness. I argue that such accounts not only render forgiveness unintelligible (since forgiveness is intelligibly offered only to the offender qua offender), but also dissolve the ethical decision forgiveness demands of us. Unconditional accounts promise to do justice to both (...)
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  • Divine Forgiveness and Reconciliation.Jada Twedt Strabbing - 2017 - Faith and Philosophy 34 (3):272-297.
    I argue that divine forgiveness is God’s openness to reconciliation with us, the wrongdoers, with respect to our wrongdoing. The main advantage of this view is that it explains the power of divine forgiveness to reconcile us to God when we repent. As I show, this view also fits well with the parable of the prodigal son, which is commonly taken to illustrate divine forgiveness, and it accounts for the close connection between divine forgiveness and Christ’s atonement. Finally, I demonstrate (...)
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  • ‘Hate the Sin but Not the Sinner’: Forgiveness and Condemnation.Kelly Hamilton - 2009 - South African Journal of Philosophy 28 (2):114-123.
    Forgiveness is traditionally thought of as the forswearing of resentment. Resentment has been argued to be a moral emotion, tightly interrelated with moral protest against a wrongdoing. This has lead to forgiveness being thought of as the forgetting or condoning of wrongdoing. I will argue for a concept of forgiveness that is ‘uncompromising’ for it does not involve giving up one’s judgements about the wrongdoing. I will argue that resentment should be understood as a type of reactive attitude, and that (...)
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  • Reasons to Forgive.Per-Erik Milam - 2019 - Analysis 79 (2):242-251.
    When we forgive, we do so for reasons. One challenge for forgiveness theorists is to explain which reasons are reasons to forgive and which are not. This paper argues that we forgive in response to a perceived change of heart on the part of the offender. The argument proceeds in four steps. First, I show that we forgive for reasons. Second, I argue that forgiveness requires the right kind of reason. Third, I show that these two points explain a common (...)
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  • The Paradox of Forgiveness.Leo Zaibert - 2009 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (3):365-393.
    Philosophers often claim that forgiveness is a paradoxical phenomenon. I here examine two of the most widespread ways of dealing with the paradoxical nature of forgiveness. One of these ways, emblematized by Aurel Kolnai, seeks to resolve the paradox by appealing to the idea of repentance. Somehow, if a wrongdoer repents, then forgiving her is no longer paradoxical. I argue that this influential position faces more problems than it solves. The other way to approach the paradox, exemplified here by the (...)
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  • Responsibility, Rational Abilities, and Two Kinds of Fairness Arguments.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (2):151 – 165.
    In this paper, I begin by considering a traditional argument according to which it would be unfair to impose sanctions on people for performing actions when they could not do otherwise, and thus that no one who lacks the ability to do otherwise is responsible or blameworthy for his or her actions in an important sense. Interestingly, a parallel argument concluding that people are not responsible or praiseworthy if they lack the ability to do otherwise is not as compelling. Watson, (...)
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  • Forgiving the Dead.Macalester Bell - 2019 - Social Philosophy and Policy 36 (1):27-51.
    :Resentment and other hard feelings may outlive their targets, and people often express a desire to overcome these feelings through forgiveness. While some see forgiving the dead as an important moral accomplishment, others deny that genuine forgiveness of the dead is coherent, let alone desirable or valuable. According to one line of thought, forgiveness is something we do for certain reasons, such as the offender’s expressed contrition. Given that the dead cannot express remorse, forgiveness of the dead is impossible. Others (...)
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  • Ambivalence About Forgiveness.Miranda Fricker - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 84:161-185.
    Our ideas about forgiveness seem to oscillate between idealization and scepticism. How should we make sense of this apparent conflict? This paper argues that we should learn something from each, seeing these views as representing opposing moments in a perennial and well-grounded moral ambivalence towards forgiveness. Once we are correctly positioned, we shall see an aspect of forgiveness that recommends precisely this ambivalence. For what will come into view will be certain key psychological mechanisms of moral-epistemic influence – other-addressed and (...)
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  • Introduction: The Agents, Acts and Attitudes of Supererogation.Christopher Cowley - 2015 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 77:1-23.
    I confess to finding the term ‘supererogation’ ugly and unpronounceable. I am also generally suspicious of technical terms in moral philosophy, since they are vulnerable to self-serving definition and counter-definition, to the point of obscuring whether there is a single phenomenon about which to disagree. It was surely not accidental that J.O. Urmson, in his classic 1958 article that launched the contemporary Anglophone debate, eschewed the technical term in favour of the more familiar concepts of saints and heroes. Since then, (...)
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  • On Taking Back Forgiveness.Geoffrey Scarre - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):931-944.
    I argue that the effectiveness of forgiveness in the healing of relationships is dependent on both the givers and recipients of forgiveness understanding that once it has been granted, forgiveness is not normally able to be retracted. When we forgive, we make a firm commitment not to return to our former state of moral resentment against the offender, replacing it by good-will. This commitment can be broken only where the forgiving party makes some significant cognitive adjustment to her appraisal of (...)
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  • Afro-Communitarian Forgiveness and the Concept of Reconciliation.Rianna Oelofsen - 2015 - South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (3):368-378.
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  • Forgiveness or Fairness?Krista K. Thomason - 2015 - Philosophical Papers 44 (2):233-260.
    Several philosophers who argue that forgiveness is an important virtue also wish to maintain the moral value of retributive emotions that forgiveness is meant to overcome. As such, these accounts explicate forgiveness as an Aristotelian mean between too much resentment and too little resentment. I argue that such an account ends up making forgiveness superfluous: it turns out that the forgiving person is not praised for a greater willingness to let go of her resentment, but rather for her fairness or (...)
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  • Forgiveness and Identification.Geoffrey Scarre - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1021-1028.
    Philosophical discussion of forgiveness has mainly focused on cases in which victims and offenders are known to each other. But it commonly happens that a victim brings an offender under a definite description but does not know to which individual this applies. I explore some of the conceptual and moral issues raised by the phenomenon of forgiveness in circumstances in which identification is incomplete, tentative or even mistaken. Among the conclusions reached are that correct and precise identification of the offending (...)
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  • Personal and Redemptive Forgiveness.Christopher Bennett - 2003 - European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):127–144.
    Some philosophers think that forgiveness should only be granted in response to the wrongdoer’s repentance, while others think that forgiveness can properly be given unconditionally. In this paper I show that both of these positions are partially correct. In redemptive forgiveness we wipe the wrong from the offender’s moral record. It is wrong to forgive redemptively in the absence of some atonement. Personal forgiveness, on the other hand, is granted when the victim overcomes inappropriate though humanly understandable feelings of hate (...)
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