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Forgiveness, commemoration, and restorative justice: The role of moral emotions.

Blustein, Jeffrey
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) Metaphilosophy. 41(4): 582-617.

Forgiveness of wrongdoing in response to public apology and amends
making seems, on the face of it, to leave little room for the continued commemoration
of wrongdoing. This rests on a misunderstanding of forgiveness, however, and we can
explain why there need be no incompatibility between them. To do this, I emphasize
the role of what I call nonangry negative moral emotions in constituting memories of
wrongdoing. Memories so constituted can persist after forgiveness and have
important moral functions, and commemorations can elicit these emotions to
preserve memories of this sort. Moreover, commemorations can be a restorative
justice practice that promotes reconciliation, but only on condition that the memories
they preserve are constituted by nonangry negative, not retributive, emotions. (Author’s abstract).


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