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This chapter presents the resolution to Hegel’s account of the problem of recognition by considering the “moral” self, that of “conscience” (Gewissen). It begins by showing that “morality” is the stance that adequately countenances the self-productive character of self-conscious beings, so that the self is understood to be constituted through activity. Only conscience, however, acknowledges the social character of this constitution of the self, the fact that, to count as a self, I must realize my moral knowledge both through my actions, and through participation in moral discourse along with others. For Hegel, successful recognition as a moral self requires the development of particular social practices, confession and forgiveness, through which we can respond to moral disagreement, and I demonstrate that recognizing one another as conscientious requires a continuing dependence on practices like these.
In this concluding chapter, I summarize the argument about the conditions for the achievement of recognition that Hegel sets out from Chapters IV-VI of the Phenomenology. I consider the ways in which the conclusions of this argument are significant for the project of the text as a whole, pointing to the role of the idea of the self both in the Phenomenology’s “Preface” and account of “Absolute Knowing,” and in the Science of Logic. At the same time, I also argue that the account of reciprocal recognition is completed in Hegel’s account of “spirit,” and so does not depend on the subsequent accounts of religion or philosophical science. I conclude by stressing the precarity of relations of reciprocal recognition which are dependent on the achievement of moral agreement.
This chapter explores the place of compromise in transitional justice. While all-pervasive in politics, compromise is a neglected topic, almost a non-topic, within the current transitional justice literature. The chapter is an attempt to reverse this tendency and rehabilitate the notion of compromise. If, as pluralists hold, we are often faced with cases of hard moral choices where, whatever we do, something of value is irreparably lost, then the best we can hope for is some kind of acceptable compromise between clashing goods. The question about the limits of compromise thus features centrally in this chapter. How far should transitional societies go in their willingness to compromise? When is a compromise acceptable, fair, guided by principle, and when is it rotten to the core, simply illegitimate? To what extent is it acceptable to compromise deeply held values such as justice and truth for the sake of other equally important values such as, say, civil peace and democracy? While doubtful that we can settle such issues once and for all, the chapter identifies a range of questions that should be part of the collective conversation about when a political compromise is acceptable and when it is not. The discussion begins, however, with a concrete historical figure, the communist leader Joe Slovo, who played a critical role in South Africa’s negotiated transition from apartheid to democracy. Slovo’s reflections on the nature and limits of compromise in the South African context serve as a central reference point for my discussion throughout this chapter.
Recent transitional justice scholarship has explored the role of emotions during periods of political transition. Scholars have taken negative emotions as both legitimate responses to past crimes and as supports to the pursuit of justice in the present. This paper argues that feelings circulate across a wide array of individuals, things, and processes that often sit apart from the formal, judicial spaces of transitional justice. To make this argument, I consider the Tunisian campaign Manich Msamah (I Do Not Forgive) and its articulation of an affect of unforgiveness in resistance to the proposed Economic and Financial Reconciliation Law. Formed in 2015, the campaign came about in response to the law and efforts, under the pretext of “reconciliation,” to return to public life figures from the repressive regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Drawing on affect theory, I argue that unforgiveness was stuck to particular individuals (figures from the old regime and circulated between a community of unforgiving activists), things (public spaces, posters, T-shirts and the ephemera of protest) and processes (accountability and substantive forms of justice). I argue that an affect of unforgiveness thus aided activists not only in their resistance to state-led reconciliation but also helped imagine alternative paths to justice in Tunisia.
Traditional Western science has had little interest in the concept of mind, and has only recently begun to recognise the relationship between spirituality and health. A better understanding of mind has allowed us to establish the scientific concepts behind the spiritual dimension of healing, and the close correlation between religious and spiritual practice and positive changes in a number of stress-related physiological systems. Meditation and prayer have both been shown to improve brain function, and together with practices such as forgiveness and positive thinking, and a supportive social structure, have been shown to benefit both mental and physical health. Meditation has particular clinical applications in those conditions where high arousal and anxiety are a part of the pathology. Controlled studies of prayer have produced mixed outcomes, but prayer is a widespread religious practice and may have positive effects on the person praying – for example, in terms of pain relief.
Forgiveness therapy is a relatively new approach to mental health treatment. It is applied when the patient presents with such psychological symptoms as persistent anger, anxiety and depression that can be associated with past injustices from others towards the patient. Such injustices, if not identified, can be a source of unhealthy anger or irritability that can then develop into other psychological symptoms. The chapter first discusses what forgiveness is and what it is not, because this concept of forgiveness is so often misunderstood. After this philosophical exploration of the definition of forgiveness, two models of forgiveness therapy are described – the process model and the REACH model. The ways in which forgiveness therapy differs from more traditional psychotherapies are examined, and the scientific evidence that forgiveness therapy is an empirically verified treatment is discussed. Cross-cultural evidence is also provided. The chapter concludes with a discussion of forgiveness in the context of spirituality.
Ought ageing people sometimes to be prepared to forgive old offences that it would not have been (so) appropriate for them to have forgiven at an earlier date? The question is tackled in the framework of a narrative conception of human life that focuses attention on the changing impact of offences on victims as they advance through their life-stories. While concerns can be raised regarding the intelligibility or point of forgiveness of long-past offences given the changes that occur to people (both victims and offenders) over time, it is argued that forgiveness has a valuable role to play in tying up the moral loose ends in a life-narrative. Finally, the question is asked whether an offender may forgive herself for an offence committed against someone who is now deceased. It is proposed that although this would be out of order, an offender may legitimately forgive herself for the harm she has done to herself through her wrongdoing.
One of the nagging uncertainties that besets the interpretation of The Sickness unto Death is the vagueness that attaches to the promised cure for the disease of despair – faith. Presented in algebraic form at the beginning, middle, and end of the book, it is otherwise left without much expatiation. This chapter reconstructs from the text what we might be able to claim confidently about faith as the cure for despair according to Anti-Climacus. Faith has a therapeutic function: It is meant to extirpate from the self the only genuine danger, which is persistence in unforgiven sin, while maturing the self to cope with the ordinary hazards of human life and to avoid its false consolations. This twofold function of faith – positively warning the self against its only real threat and negatively clearing away false consolations and imagined dangers – is grounded in the definition of faith Anti-Climacus supplies, which involves two distinct elements: willing to be yourself and resting transparently in God. This chapter explores the precise sense in which the faithful self relates to God and the therapeutic benefits that come from the faithful person’s ability to genuinely will to be themselves.
It is now recognized that important interpretative insights are to be gained from reading Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous works in tandem with the upbuilding writings, especially where these are closely connected in time or subject matter. In the case of The Sickness unto Death, a journal entry by Kierkegaard (NB13:79) indicates that the Three Discourses at the Communion on Fridays (“The High Priest,” “The Tax Collector,” and “The Sinful Woman”), published in autumn 1849, “respond to” Anti-Climacus, pseudonymous author of The Sickness unto Death. How do they respond? Kierkegaard writes: “I must have a place of rest, but I cannot rest on a pseudonym; and they respond to Anti-Climacus, and [to] the situation. The discourses for the communion on Friday are once and for all envisaged as the authorship’s place of rest.” This comment invites us to see the discourses as offering a kind of dialectical counterpoint to the argument of The Sickness unto Death, and the chapter explores in detail what this means and, specifically, what Kierkegaard means by “a place of rest.” In addition to the Three Discourses at the Communion on Fridays the chapter also draws on An Upbuilding Discourse (1850) and Two Upbuilding Discourses (1851) that are thematically connected with the discourses of autumn 1849.
The literature on moral responsibility is ripe with accounts of what it takes for an agent to become blameworthy. By contrast, very little has been written about what it takes for an agent’s blameworthiness to cease or diminish. It seems that there are certain things a wrongdoer can feel or do that might make her less blameworthy than she would otherwise have been. She might experience guilt, atone, apologize, and make reparations. In this chapter, I will argue that prominent accounts of blameworthiness are unable to explain how such actions and emotions can influence one’s blameworthiness. I will then present an alternative account. If we understand blameworthiness in terms of deserved guilt rather than fitting resentment, we can give a plausible account of how blameworthiness can change over time. The fact that a wrongdoer has already experienced guilt, atoned, or apologized will make her less deserving of guilt, and therefore less blameworthy.
Blame is multifarious. It can be passionate or dispassionate. It can be expressed or kept private. We blame both the living and the dead. And we blame ourselves as well as others. What’s more, we blame ourselves, not only for our moral failings, but also for our non-moral failings: for our aesthetic bad taste, gustatory self-indulgence, or poor athletic performance. And we blame ourselves both for things over which we exerted agential control (e.g., our voluntary acts) and for things over which we lacked such control (e.g., our desires, beliefs, and intentions). I argue that, despite this manifest diversity in our blaming practices, it’s possible to provide a comprehensive account of blame. Indeed, I propose a set of necessary and sufficient conditions that aims to specify blame’s extension in terms of its constitution as opposed to its function. And I argue that this proposal has a number of advantages beyond accounting for blame in all its disparate forms.
Many theorists have found the notion of forgiveness to be paradoxical, for it is thought that only the blameworthy can be appropriately forgiven but that the blameworthy are appropriately blamed, not forgiven. Some have appealed to the notion of repentance to resolve this tension. But others have objected that such a response is explanatorily inadequate in the sense that it merely stipulates and names a solution leaving the transformative power of repentance unexplained. Worse still, others have objected that such a response cannot succeed because no amount of repentance can render the blameworthy not blameworthy. I argue that this latter objection is based on a mistaken assumption, the acknowledgement of which has the power to resolve the paradox in a way that meets the explanatory adequacy challenge and, more generally, has significant implications with which any full theory of forgiveness must engage.
This article provides a summary and some replies to points offered in the Kantian Review Roundtable discussion of my recent book Kant and Religion. The main themes are as follows: Kant’s project in the Religion; religious thinking as symbolic; the rational interpretation of revelation and of religious symbols; Kant’s moral argument for religious faith; the ‘psychological’-moral argument; Kant’s thesis that human nature contains a radical propensity to evil; evil and human sociability; evil and freedom; divine forgiveness and the sinner’s self-acceptance; Kant’s Religion as a subject of philosophical controversy.
Forgiveness is a hallmark teaching within monotheistic religions. This Element introduces the topic in three ways. First, it considers the extent to which forgiveness is specific to or constituted by monotheistic beliefs, by a comparison with analogous teaching and practice in Buddhism. Second, the most extensive section explores the grammar of forgiveness shared across the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – elements of repentance, intercession, and eschatological deferral. This section identifies some of the divergent tendencies or emphases on this topic among those traditions. A third section addresses the role of forgiveness and monotheistic religions in human cultural evolution and the emergence of eusociality. The aim is for the reader to gain an introductory view of monotheism and forgiveness from a comparative religious example, from an internal examination of Abrahamic traditions, and from a developmental, secular perspective.
Chapter 5 examines the dynamics in veterans’ meeting with Vietnamese. A common goal of returnees was to meet “the enemy,” and the solidarity they found with fellow soldiers in Việt Nam became a key theme in veterans’ narratives. This chapter unpacks a near-uniform claim made by veterans that the Vietnamese bore no grudge for the war and welcomed veterans back to Việt Nam wholeheartedly. Because many American veterans positioned themselves as atoning for wartime participation, they viewed this reaction as forgiveness. Australian veterans, conversely, drew from Australia’s national mythology to argue that the Vietnamese welcomed them back because they loved and respected Australian soldiers. This chapter situates veterans’ claims about forgiveness, solidarity, and belonging in Việt Nam in the context of Vietnamese diplomacy, examines the inclusion and exclusion of different Vietnamese groups from veterans’ solidarity narratives, and explores concealed hostility on both sides.
This chapter discusses a series of high-profile cases in which significant disputes arose involving the application of ecclesiastical law. It begins with Parliament’s debates on its role and authority in this area as it attempted more than once to frame legislation for clergy discipline and the discussions in Convocation. It considers the Gompertz case, raising questions about the role of the bishop; the contrasting churchmanships of Evangelicals and Tractarians; and the controversy about biblical interpretation prompted by the publication of Essays and Reviews. The case of James Shore tested the law on the effect of a clergyman’s finding his opinions had changed to such an extent that he was no longer a member of the Church of England, while still effectively retaining his Anglican priesthood. The chapter also covers the cases of William Bennett and the ‘real presence’, and George Denison’s lengthy dispute with the Bishop of Exeter on the effect of baptism. It ends with the case of Alexander Mackonochie and controversy over the regulation of public worship.
The armed conflict in Colombia manifests and lasts as barbarism in the contemporary world (Zuleta, 2006). Against this background, it is possible to identify among the victims the prevalence of pathologies associated with traumatic events such as forced displacement (Andrade, 2008). Studies indicate a harmony between resentment and other psychosocial effects (Arcos, Muñoz, Uribe, Villamil, Ramos, 2018).
The results of the study are presented, which has aimed to analyze the relationship between resentment and forgiveness with victims of forced displacement in three cities of Colombian.
A correlational study has been carried out with a sample of 40 (n = 40) subjects of which 52.5% are men and 47.5% women, the mean age is 57.52 (σ = 13.591), all with a history of forced displacement; to the data collection has been used the CAPER instrument of Rosales, Rivera and Garcia (2017) (α = .592).
There is evidence of a positive bilateral correlation between the variables studied (r = .000; p = .681), the greater the personal restoration, the greater the feeling of guilt.
It is important that the intervention processes designed for the victims of forced displacement focused on forgiveness include in their content elements associated with resentment.
The epistemic relevance of forgiveness has been neglected by both the discussion of forgiveness in moral psychology and by social epistemology generally. Moral psychology fails to account for the forgiveness of epistemic wrongs and for the way that wrongs in general have epistemic implications. Social epistemology, for its part, neglects the way that epistemic trust is not only conferred but repaired. In this essay, I show that the repair of epistemic trust through forgiveness is necessary to the economy of knowledge for fallible persons like us. Despite the fact that forgiveness is never included on lists of important intellectual virtues or epistemic activities, it is vital to our lives as social knowers. Likewise, an account of forgiveness that neglects its epistemic dimension is importantly incomplete.
Although an Anglican bishop, Joseph Butler was the first thinker in the liberal tradition to argue that resentment could be morally justifiable, specifically when it was deliberate and sympathetically experienced on behalf of another person. Contrary to his egoist predecessors and also unlike eighteenth century theorists who took human sociability to be the product of our benevolent natures, Butler believed the resentments we adopted on behalf of those familiar to us were morally good motives for action and indeed the clearest evidence of our common humanity. Butler believed our sympathetic resentment was based on our belief in the equal status of victims, too. And, finally, Butler advanced a limited view of the nature and scope of our political duties, grounded in his moral psychology.
Reconciliation requires individuals and groups to address past and present inequality, injustice, and violence to construct better futures based on stronger social bonds and a respect for human rights. Yet, the theoretical threads connecting the concepts are rarely unraveled. This chapter uses psychological frameworks to better understand reconciliation in relation to human rights. The authors propose that in postconflict settings, reconciliation and human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and neither is truly possible without the other. First, the authors briefly review understandings of reconciliation and how they are advanced by postconflict mechanisms such as truth commissions. Second, the authors explain how reconciliation may be connected to greater respect for human rights. Third, Colombia is used as a case study to demonstrate the complex relationships between forgiveness, reconciliation, and human rights. Finally, the chapter offers future directions for research at the intersection of human rights, psychology, and reconciliation.