Source: (1991) Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

This book discusses situations that violate a moral imperative, harms someone, and endangers our social understanding, but is not necessarily subject to formal or legal sanctions. Assuming that we are not indifferent to the negative consequences of our conduct, one way we can try to rehabilitate ourselves and restore social harmony is to plead mea culpa (through my fault) and apologize to the wronged party. The production of a satisfactory apology resides in its capacity to effectively eradicate the consequences of the offense by evoking the faculty of forgiveness. The author attempts to develop a coherent formulation of apology and its role in contemporary Western society.