Personal and redemptive forgiveness

European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):127–144 (2003)
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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 or vindictive anger towards the wrongdoer and comes to see them as deserving of a certain unconditional respect ’qua’ moral agent. Personal forgiveness is unconditionally admirable



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Christopher Bennett
Ryerson University

Citations of this work

Reasons to forgive.Per-Erik Milam - 2019 - Analysis 79 (2):242-251.
Forgiving, Committing, and Un‐forgiving.Monique Wonderly - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (2):474-488.
Against Elective Forgiveness.Per-Erik Milam - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):569-584.
Forgiving as emotional distancing.Santiago Amaya - 2019 - Social Philosophy and Policy 36 (1):6-26.

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References found in this work

Responsibility and atonement.Richard Swinburne - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
In defence of unconditional forgiveness.Eve Garrard & David McNaughton - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (1):39–60.
Freedom in belief and desire.Philip Pettit & Michael Smith - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (9):429-449.
Trials and Punishments.John Cottingham & R. A. Duff - 1987 - Philosophical Quarterly 37 (149):448.

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