Against Elective Forgiveness

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):569-584 (2018)
Authors
Per-Erik Milam
University of Gothenburg
Abstract
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 forgiveness is essentially elective. In this paper, I dispute these arguments. I argue that the intuitive plausibility of the position diminishes upon reflection and that the best arguments fail to explain why reasons to forgive, unlike most other reasons for action, cannot generate requirements.
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-018-9899-1
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References found in this work BETA

Moral Blame and Moral Protest.Angela Smith - 2013 - In D. Justin Coates & Neal A. Tognazzini (eds.), Blame: Its Nature and Norms. Oxford University Press.
Moral Saints.Susan Wolf - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (8):419-439.
Wiping the Slate Clean: The Heart of Forgiveness.Lucy Allais - 2008 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (1):33–68.
Articulating an Uncompromising Forgiveness.Pamela Hieronymi - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):529-555.

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