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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 25, 2018

Moral Psychology

Frederik Kaufman
Pages 37-41

Forgiveness and Warranted Resentment

I argue that forgiveness necessarily involves overcoming resentment to which we are entitled when wronged. My view calls into question the standard understanding of forgiveness according to which resentment is no longer warranted once the transgressor apologizes or makes amends in some other way. If forgiveness entails relinquishing unwarranted resentment, as the standard account has it, then it is not freely given, since one must relinquish unwarranted resentments. On my view, forgiveness remains elective (and hence praiseworthy) since one chooses to relinquish resentment to which one has every right irrespective of whether the transgressor apologizes.