International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 35, Issue 1, Spring 2021

Derek R. Brookes
Pages 117-125

Forgiveness as Conditional: A Reply to Kleinig

In my paper “Moral Grounds for Forgiveness,” I argued that forgiveness is morally appropriate only when a sincere apology is received, thus ruling out the three grounds for unconditional forgiveness suggested by John Kleinig in his paper “Forgiveness and Unconditionality.” In response to his reply “Defending Unconditional Forgiveness,” I argue here that my terminology, once clarified, does not undermine my construal of resentment; that conditional forgiveness is just as discretionary as unconditional forgiveness; and that what we choose to take into account when we forgive must be a morally appropriate grounding for that particular end, but that only a sincere apology could satisfy this condition. I end by conceding that the three grounds suggested by Kleinig nevertheless play an essential role in the process of (conditional) forgiveness insofar as they facilitate a willingness to forgive and an openness toward accepting an apology.