1st Edition

The Ethics of Forgiveness A Collection of Essays

Edited By Christel Fricke Copyright 2011
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    We are often pressed to forgive or in need of forgiveness: Wrongdoing is common. Even after a perpetrator has been taken to court and punished, forgiveness still has a role to play. How should a victim and a perpetrator relate to each other outside the courtroom, and how should others relate to them? Communicating about forgiveness is particularly urgent in cases of civil war and crimes against humanity inside a community where, if there were no forgiveness, the community would fall apart.

    Forgiveness is governed by social and, in particular, by moral norms. Do those who ask to be forgiven have to fulfil certain conditions for being granted forgiveness? And what does the granting of forgiveness consist in? We may feel like refusing to forgive those perpetrators who have committed the most horrendous crimes. But is such a refusal justified even if they repent their crimes? Could there be a duty for the victim to forgive? Can forgiveness be granted by a third party? Under which conditions may we forgive ourselves?

    The papers collected in the present volume address all these questions, exploring the practice of forgiveness and its normative constraints. Topics include the ancient Chinese and the Christian traditions of forgiveness, the impact of forgiveness on the moral dignity and self-respect of the victim, self-forgiveness, the narrative of forgiveness as well as the limits of forgiveness. Such limits may arise from the personal, historical, or political conditions of wrongdoing or from the emotional constraints of the victims.

    Introduction  Christel Fricke  I. Historical and Intercultural Perspectives on Forgiveness 1. Forgiveness and Forbearance in Ancient China  Christoph Harbsmeier  2. Unconditional Forgiveness in Christianity? Some Reflections on Ancient Christian Sources and Practices  Ilaria Ramelli  II. Forgiveness and Selfhood  3. What We Cannot Do to Each Other--On Forgiveness and Moral Vulnerability  Christel Fricke  4. Forgiveness and the Constitution of Selfhood  Garry Hagberg  5. Self-Forgiveness and the Narrative Sense of Self  Peter Goldie  III. Exploring the Limits of Forgiveness  6. Conditional Unconditional Forgiveness Eve Garrard and David McNaughton  7. Forgiving Without Blame  Espen Gamlund  8. On Loving Our Enemies  Jerome Neu  9. Can Forgiveness be Morally Wrong?  Arne Johan Vetlesen  10. Apologising for Historic Injustices  Geoffrey Scarre  11. Forgiveness, History, Narrative: W.G. Sebald's 'Austerlitz'  Jakob Lothe


    Christel Fricke is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oslo, Norway and the director of the Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature since 2007.

    'While most of the contributions are works in moral theory, the volume also represents other disciplinary approaches to issues of forgiveness, including literary criticism and linguistics. The result is a satisfyingly diverse range of perspectives on the nature, justification and limits of forgiveness.'
    Linda Radzik, Texas A&M University, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews