Forgiveness and betrayal

Abstract

This chapter draws some conclusions about moral alignment and moral pluralism from an examination of forgiveness and betrayal. While forgiveness and betrayal seem very different phenomena, they are parallel in some instructive ways. Explicating the similar structures of forgiveness and betrayal can illuminate their respective roles in the moral economies of agential life, of relationship, and within networks of relationship. Looking at these similarities, as well as differences, also helps to show up some of the characteristics of the moral domain, understood as a complex social domain that comprises particular direct relationships in which betrayals and forgivenesses occur, and in which agents inhabit multiple overlapping moral communities.

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Cynthia Townley
Macquarie University

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