Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (1):99-112 (2007)
Societies emerging from severe internal bloodshed along ethnic, racial or religious lines face significant problems of reconciliation. A particularly “deep” form of recognition between former victims and offenders is necessary to end enmity and achieve solidarity. Yet it appears that deep reconciliation is logically incoherent as it requires that forgiveness be asked and be given for acts that are inexcusable and unforgivable. I argue, however, that toleration, understood as moral attitudes and dispositions, helps us understand why deep reconciliation is logically coherent. Dispelling the apparent paradox lies in understanding the role of toleration in forming what I call relationships of “acknowledgment and forbearance.” Relationships of acknowledgement and forbearance overcome elements of enmity and estrangement, and such relationships are necessary, in turn, for deep reconciliation
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