Forgiveness and the Multiple Functions of Anger

Abstract

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 has done. This function allows us to explore the moral status of forgiveness, including why forgiveness is typically elective.

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Author Profiles

Antony Aumann
Northern Michigan University
Zac Cogley
Ohio State University (PhD)

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