In Paula Satne & Krisanna M. Scheiter (eds.), Conflict and Resolution: The Ethics of Forgiveness, Revenge and Punishment. Switzerland: pp. 301-327 (2022)

Paula Satne
University of Wolverhampton
I argue that political forgiveness is sometimes, but not always, compatible with public commemoration of politically motivated wrongdoing. I start by endorsing the claim that commemorating serious past wrongdoing has moral value and imposes moral demands on key actors within post-conflict societies. I am concerned with active commemoration, that is, the deliberate acts of bringing victims and the wrong done to them to public attention. The main issue is whether political forgiveness requires forgetting and conversely whether remembrance can be an impediment to political forgiveness. The notion of political forgiveness, its definition, very possibility and desirability are contentious issues in the contemporary literature. I develop a multidimensional account of political forgiveness with a core element. The core element of political forgiveness involves taking a non-adversarial stance towards perpetrators in the sense of committing to stop holding their wrongdoing against them. The core element of forgiveness is usually combined with other attitudes and practices, which are appropriate depending on the circumstances. This is due to the fact that there are different ways of holding a wrong against an offender. I argue that forgiving perpetrators is not compatible with continue to punishing them, refusing to reconcile with them, and/or reminding them of their misdeed if perpetrators refuse to accept punishment, deny the importance of commemorating the past or wish to reconcile against the victim’s desires. I show that some forms of political forgiveness are not morally legitimate because they conflict with moral demands to punish perpetrators, commemorate atrocities and respect victims. This conclusion is less alarming than it might initially seem because the refusal to forgive politically motivated wrongdoing does not necessarily lead to the perpetuation of violence and conflict. I briefly draw on the example of Argentina in order to show how some forms of political un-forgiveness can be morally legitimate and effective ways for victims to uphold these demands.
Keywords political forgiveness  commemoration  forgiveness  memory  punishment  reconciliation  Argentina  Mothers of Plaza de Mayo
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Political Forgiveness.Harry Bunting - 2009 - Ethics in Brief 14 (2):1 - 4.
The Dilemma of Divine Forgiveness.Glen Pettigrove - 2008 - Religious Studies 44 (4):457-464.
Punishment, Forgiveness and Reconciliation.Bill Wringe - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1099-1124.
Forgiveness Understood as a New Birth.Mario Di Giacomo - 2016 - Apuntes Filosóficos 25 (49):146-171.
Self-Forgiveness, Trauma, and Community: An Ethical Perspective.Kelley Mayo - 2011 - Journal of Ethics in Mental Health 6:1-4.
How is Self-Forgiveness Possible?Per-Erik Milam - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1).
Forgiveness in Ricœur.Gaëlle Fiasse - 2018 - In Marguerite La Caze (ed.), Phenomenology and Forgiveness. London, New York: Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 85-101.
Collective Forgiveness.Katie Stockdale - forthcoming - In Robert Enright & Glen Pettigrove (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Forgiveness. Routledge.
Forgiveness and Reconciliation.Barrett Emerick - 2017 - In Kathryn J. Norlock (ed.), The Moral Psychology of Forgiveness. London, UK: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 117-134.
The Economic Model of Forgiveness.Brandon Warmke - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4):570-589.


Added to PP index

Total views
81 ( #143,304 of 2,507,021 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
81 ( #9,633 of 2,507,021 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes