Forgiveness and forgivingness

Authored by: David McNaughton , Eve Garrard

The Handbook of Virtue Ethics

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844656394
eBook ISBN: 9781315729053
Adobe ISBN: 9781317544777


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Few people dispute that a willingness to forgive, when appropriate, is laudable – an expression of what Roberts (1995) calls the virtue of forgivingness. And nearly all agree that, in order to forgive, the victim needs to overcome at least some negative feelings towards the person who has wronged her. Beyond this point, there is considerable dissension. Four questions, in particular, have been at the forefront of recent debate.

When is it appropriate to forgive?

What are the negative feelings and attitudes that must be overcome in forgiveness?

What else has to take place in order for the victim to have forgiven the wrongdoer?

What justifies forgiveness?

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