Impossible Forgiveness

Ethical Perspectives 15 (3):369-379 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Insofar as the notion of forgiveness stems from the Jewish and Christian traditions, it seems to point at something very extraordinary. Although Christianity recommends or even commissions forgiveness to everybody, it nevertheless seems to consist of something which is not humanly possible: how could one remember the evil committed , and at the same time not blame the one who committed it? By ultimately reserving the entitlement and ability to forgive to God, by describing human forgiveness as a theological virtue, and by emphasizing the gratuitous or gracious character of forgiveness, this tradition seems most of all to show that forgiveness is generally speaking impossible. In this paper, this conception of forgiveness is presented with the help of Jacques Derrida. The question how this apparently impossibility nevertheless sometimes happens is first answered with the help of Thomas Aquinas. Against this background, the paper claims that a ‘secular’ interpretation of forgiveness is also possible, which does justice to its being humanly impossible. Such interpretation describes forgiveness as an intersubjective act

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,102

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

Supererogatory Forgiveness.Espen Gamlund - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (6):540-564.
Hampton on Forgiveness.Linda Radzik - 2011 - APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Law 10 (2):1-6.
Repentance and Forgiveness: The Undoing of Time. [REVIEW]Edith Wyschogrod - 2006 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 60 (1/3):157 - 168.
For Community's Sake: A (Self-Respecting) Kantian Account of Forgiveness.Kate A. Moran - forthcoming - Proceedings of the XI International Kant-Kongress.
Radical forgiveness and human justice.Andrew Fiala - 2012 - Heythrop Journal 53 (3):494-506.
Forgiveness and the Refusal of Injustice.Gaëlle Fiasse - 2008 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 82:125-134.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-09-02

Downloads
35 (#408,502)

6 months
5 (#311,051)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Paul Van Tongeren
Radboud University Nijmegen

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references