The Importance of Self-Forgiveness

American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (1):67 - 80 (2012)
Authors
Byron Williston
Wilfrid Laurier University
Abstract
To self-forgive is to foreswear specific self-directed negative attitudes, attitudes that result from an agent’s recognition of his own moral failing. What does this foreswearing process involve? When is it justified? And what is the relation between self-forgiveness and interpersonal forgiveness? I will make two arguments in an attempt to answer these questions. First, self-forgiveness essentially involves a process of shaming whose ultimate goal is restoration of the wrongdoer’s goodness. Second, if a wrongdoer is to merit the forgiveness of his victim(s), he is morally ’required’ not merely ’permitted to’ forgive himself first
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