In Beatrix Himmelmann & Camilla Serck-Hanssen (eds.), The Court of Reason: Proceedings of the 13th International Kant Congress. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter. pp. 1511-1520 (2021)

Paula Satne
University of Wolverhampton
Claudia Blöser has recently proposed that Kant’s duty to be forgiving is grounded on the need to be relieved from the burden of our moral guilt, a need we have in virtue of our morally fallible nature, irrespectively of whether we have repented. I argue that Blöser's proposal does not fit well with certain central aspects of Kant’s views on moral guilt. For Kant, moral guilt is a complex phenomenon, that has both an intellectual and an affective aspect. I argue that it is not even possible for us to fully overcome our intellectual guilt, and to the extent that it is possible to ameliorate our felt guilt, this is largely a matter of self-forgiveness. However, self-forgiveness is only appropriate when there is repentance for the wrongful action and rejection of its underlying immoral maxim by the wrongdoer as part of a project of moral transformation. I offer an alternative account of the human need for forgiveness, an account that makes forgiveness conditional on repentance.
Keywords Guilt  Kant's ethics  Forgiveness  Self-forgiveness  Repentance  Remorse  Freedom  moral transformation  Kant
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