Two Cheers for Forgiveness (and Even Fewer for Revenge)

Hughes, Paul
June 2016
Philosophia;Jun2016, Vol. 44 Issue 2, p361
Academic Journal
In this paper I critically discuss what has come to be known as the consensus or standard view of interpersonal forgiveness noting some of the paradoxes it appears to generate, how its conceptual resources seem unable to help illuminate several other varieties of forgiveness that are either themselves instances of interpersonal forgiving or at least types of forgiveness that a theory of interpersonal forgiveness should be able to shed some light upon. In the final section I offer some remarks on the nature of revenge, which has recently come to be seen by some philosophers as a morally acceptable alternative to forgiving wrongdoers, note some of the puzzles to which it gives rise, and conclude that while both types of responses to wrongdoers remain morally complex, there is good reason to think that forgiveness is the morally more appropriate response to having been wronged.


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