Monique Wonderly
University of California, San Diego
Theorists often conceive of forgiveness as “wiping the slate clean” or something of the sort with respect to the offender’s moral infraction. This raises a puzzle concerning how (or whether) the relevant wrongdoing can continue to play a role in the forgiver’s deliberations, attitudes, and practical orientation toward the offender once forgiveness has taken place. For example, consider an agent who forgives her offender for an act of wrongdoing only to later blame her again for that very same act. Is the relevant agent morally criticizable for breaching a commitment internal to her earlier forgiveness? When, if ever, is “un-forgiving,” justified? In brief, I argue that sometimes, we can genuinely forgive a wrongdoer for a particular transgression and at some later time, justifiably un-forgive her for it. Though the act of un-forgiving is underexplored, I argue that attending to this phenomenon will not only illuminate an important, often overlooked aspect of moral life, but it will also help to inform extant accounts of the nature and ethics of forgiveness.
Keywords forgiveness, un-forgiving, commitment, normative powers, blame
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/phpr.12772
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,323
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Articulating an Uncompromising Forgiveness.Pamela Hieronymi - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):529-555.
Wiping the Slate Clean: The Heart of Forgiveness.Lucy Allais - 2008 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (1):33–68.
The Economic Model of Forgiveness.Brandon Warmke - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4):570-589.
The Normative Significance of Forgiveness.Brandon Warmke - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):687-703.
Forgiveness and Self-Respect.David Novitz - 1998 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):299-315.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Possibility of Preemptive Forgiving.Nicolas Cornell - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (2):241-272.
Understanding, Excusing, Forgiving.Glen Pettigrove - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):156–175.
Forgiving the Dead.Macalester Bell - 2019 - Social Philosophy and Policy 36 (1):27-51.
Forgiving While Punishing.Luke Russell - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):704-718.
Forgiving as Emotional Distancing.Santiago Amaya - 2019 - Social Philosophy and Policy 36 (1):6-26.
Forgiving and Hoping.David T. Ozar - 2008 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 82:163-172.
Forgiving and Hoping.David T. Ozar - 2008 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 82:163-172.
Hannah Arendt and Collective Forgiving.Glen Pettigrove - 2006 - Journal of Social Philosophy 37 (4):483–500.
Can God Forgive Our Trespasses?N. Verbin - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (2):181-199.
Forgiveness: A Developmental View.Robert D. Enright, Elizabeth A. Gassin & Ching-Ru Wu - 1992 - Journal of Moral Education 21 (2):99-114.
The Limits of Forgiveness.Kathryn J. Norlock & Jean Rumsey - 2009 - Hypatia 24 (1):100 - 122.
The Forgiveness We Speak: The Illocutionary Force of Forgiving.Glen Pettigrove - 2004 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (3):371-392.


Added to PP index

Total views
47 ( #227,114 of 2,448,723 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
28 ( #25,126 of 2,448,723 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes