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On taking back forgiveness.

Scarre, Geoffrey (2016) 'On taking back forgiveness.', Ethical theory and moral practice., 19 (4). pp. 931-944.

Abstract

I argue that the effectiveness of forgiveness in the healing of relationships is dependent on both the givers and recipients of forgiveness understanding that once it has been granted, forgiveness is not normally able to be retracted. When we forgive, we make a firm commitment not to return to our former state of moral resentment against the offender, replacing it by good-will. This commitment can be broken only where the forgiving party makes some significant cognitive adjustment to her appraisal of either the offender or the offence, believing that her original forgiveness was granted in error. I reject the view (defended, for example, by Anthony Bash) that forgiveness can lapse or be withdrawn on the basis of a return of hurt or disappointed feelings, arguing that these do not amount to a restoration of the resentment that is extinguished when forgiveness is granted. I contend that a person who ‘forgives’ and later takes back that ‘forgiveness’ because certain negative feelings have returned either did not genuinely forgive in the first place or shows that she has not fully grasped the nature of forgiveness.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Forgiveness, Withdrawal of forgiveness, Performative forgiveness, Repentance, Reconciliation, Moral judgement, Anthony Bash.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10677-015-9651-z
Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Record Created:12 Nov 2015 16:50
Last Modified:01 Aug 2016 13:54

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