Moral Atrocity and Political Reconciliation

International Journal of Applied Philosophy 15 (1):123-133 (2001)
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Abstract

Over the past decade or so political leaders around the world have begun to apologize for, and even seek reconciliation between perpetrators and victims of large-scale moral wrongs such as slavery, campaigns of ethnic cleansing, and official regimes of racial segregation. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is probably the most well-known example of such political efforts to effect what might be called moral healing within and between nations. In this essay, I canvass various senses of reconciliation, clarifying which are appropriate for understanding these recent political efforts to heal the wounds caused by state-sanctioned moral atrocities. I argue that interpersonal reconciliation is not likely to be a promising model for understanding political efforts to achieve moral closure for large-scale wrongs, and I close with some worries about the efficacy of state-sponsored attempts to reconcile victims to their wrongdoers.

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Paul Hughes
University of Michigan, Dearborn

Citations of this work

Reconciliation.Linda Radzik & Colleen Murphy - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Eine Theorie nationaler Versöhnung: Einsichten aus Afrika.Thaddeus Metz - 2016 - Polylog: Forum for Intercultural Philosophy 34 (Supp):219-244.
Political reconciliation at the level of global governance.Henning Hahn - 2017 - Journal of Global Ethics 13 (3):298-311.

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