Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012
Alvin Plantinga's New Argument Against Materialism
Change of Heart
Forgiveness, Resentment, and Empathy
This paper proposes an answer to a puzzle regarding robust notions of forgiveness. Robust forgiveness occurs when victims extend grace to perpetrators in the absence of moral reparation or repentance. If unmerited grace is one of its necessary features, is robust forgiveness a moral and rational response to perpetrators? The paper sketches an empathetic model of forgiveness as a plausible candidate for answering this puzzle. However, this particular model must be refined to handle cases where resentment infiltrates and cements deeply in our motivational structures. Still working broadly within an empathetic framework, the paper proposes a modification aimed to alleviate worries about the dispersing and entrenchment of resentment.