Reasons to forgive

Analysis 79 (2):242-251 (2019)
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When we forgive, we do so for reasons. One challenge for forgiveness theorists is to explain which reasons are reasons to forgive and which are not. This paper argues that we forgive in response to a perceived change of heart on the part of the offender. The argument proceeds in four steps. First, I show that we forgive for reasons. Second, I argue that forgiveness requires the right kind of reason. Third, I show that these two points explain a common distinction between forgiving and letting go and, in doing so, solve a problem facing many accounts of forgiveness. Finally, I consider candidate reasons to forgive and argue that all of them are either the wrong kind of reason or are instances of a more general reason of the right kind, namely, a perceived change of heart.



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Citations of this work

Forgiving, Committing, and Un‐forgiving.Monique Wonderly - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (2):474-488.
Forgiveness and the Significance of Wrongs.Stefan Riedener - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (1).
Two problems of fitting grief.Julius Schönherr - 2021 - Analysis 81 (2):240-247.
Forgiveness, Repentance, and Diachronic Blameworthiness.Andrew C. Khoury - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (4):700-720.

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References found in this work

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
The Wrong Kind of Reason.Pamela Hieronymi - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (9):437 - 457.
1. Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - In John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (eds.), Perspectives on Moral Responsibility. Cornell University Press. pp. 1-25.
The Moralistic Fallacy: On the ”Appropriateness' of Emotions.Daniel Jacobson - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):65-90.

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