Forgiveness and Moral Repair

In Manuel Vargas & John Doris (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press (2022)
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Forgiveness has enjoyed intense scholarly interest since the 1980s. I provide a historical overview, then identify themes in the literature, with an emphasis on those relevant to the moral psychology of forgiveness in the twenty-first century. I conclude with some attention to dual-process theories of moral reasoning in order to suggest that key debates in forgiveness are not at odds so much as they may be aligned with the different moral aims of moral and mental processes that differ in kind. I argue for the view that the moral aims of forgiveness are multiple, following scholars who maintain a multidimensional account of forgiveness with a focus on the functions of forgiveness in relationships and the importance of forgiveness to its practitioners rather than a unified definition or justification that applies to all moral occasions.

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Kathryn J. Norlock
Trent University


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