Chapter

Forgiveness and character

Glen Pettigrove

in Forgiveness and Love

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646555
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741975 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646555.003.0003
Forgiveness and character

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For most of the last century, ethical theory has been focused on the evaluation of acts. So it is not surprising that the philosophical discussion of forgiveness has been similarly act focused. This focus on acts is evident, among other places, in the standard answer to the question, ‘What do we forgive?’ Typically it is assumed that the thing for which a person is forgiven is a wrong action. However, this assumption omits a significant range of cases in which we might (or might not) forgive another person. Often what is at issue is not an action but a trait of character. This chapter argues that we should expand our account of forgiveness to include situations in which that for which a person is forgiven is not a transgressive act but a failure of character.

Keywords: forgiveness; character; transgression; vice; blame; third-party forgiveness

Chapter.  6420 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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