Can You Forgive Me?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

A standardphilosophical question of forgiveness is when and how forgiveness can takeplace, without altering the fact that a wrong was done that justifiesresentment, and without equating forgiveness with excusing, condoning,accepting, understanding or forgetting. This article asks whether significantaspects of what we ordinarily understand as forgiveness fall out of the pictureif these conditions are required to be met to be able to speak of forgiving. Byelaborating on the four words of the title, it shows that too much emphasis isput on whether we can forgive and in determining what forgiveness is, at theexpense of elucidating the moral dynamic between “I” and “you” when the needfor forgiveness arise. The difficulty of forgiveness, it is argued, does notlie in determining whether this or that case is truly a form of forgiveness,but in actually forgiving you, or in realising that I myself need to beforgiven. Rather than providing an account of the conditions under whichforgiveness makes sense, this provides an opportunity to deepen ourunderstanding of what sense our life makes in the light of forgiveness. In particularthe discussion reveals how certain experiences of you have the power totransform and deepen my understanding of forgiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299–322
JournalEthical Perspectives
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • love
  • Forgiveness

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