Forgiveness and Self-Respect

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):299-315 (1998)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The aim of this paper is to explain what is involved in the exercise of the Judaeo-Christian virtue of forgiveness, and in so doing to lay bare the structure of human (rather than Divine) forgiveness. It argues that it is not possible, through some act of will, to forgive a person for the wrongs that have been done to one, but shows nonetheless that forgiving is a task and that the disposition to undertake this task in the appropriate circumstances may properly be regarded as a virtue. However, to be too willing to undertake this task, or to undertake it in inappropriate circumstances, is a vice since it is indicative of diminished self-respect. Success in the task of forgiving falls beyond our full rational control and depends very largely on a capacity to empathise and to feel an appropriate degree of compassion. Whether or not we are able to do so and sustain this itself depends on certain social contingencies.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,069

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Forgiveness and self-respect.David Novitz - 1998 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):299-315.
Forgiveness, Resentment, and Self-Respect.Shelby Therese Weitzel - 2002 - Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
For Community's Sake: A (Self-Respecting) Kantian Account of Forgiveness.Kate A. Moran - forthcoming - Proceedings of the XI International Kant-Kongress.
Supererogatory Forgiveness.Espen Gamlund - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (6):540-564.
Forgiveness and Respect for Persons.Owen Ware - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (3).
Forgiveness or Fairness?Krista K. Thomason - 2015 - Philosophical Papers 44 (2):233-260.
The Limits of Forgiveness.Kathryn J. Norlock & Jean Rumsey - 2009 - Hypatia 24 (1):100 - 122.
In defence of unconditional forgiveness.Eve Garrard & David McNaughton - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (1):39–60.
Personal and redemptive forgiveness.Christopher Bennett - 2003 - European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):127–144.
A Feminist Ethic of Forgiveness.Kathryn J. Norlock - 2001 - Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
On Taking Back Forgiveness.Geoffrey Scarre - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):931-944.


Added to PP

57 (#256,407)

6 months
18 (#109,592)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Respect.Robin S. Dillon - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Wiping the Slate clean: The heart of forgiveness.Lucy Allais - 2008 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (1):33–68.
In defence of unconditional forgiveness.Eve Garrard & David McNaughton - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (1):39–60.
Forgiving, Committing, and Unā€forgiving.Monique Wonderly - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (2):474-488.

View all 34 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references