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The moral foundations of truth commissions.

Gutmann, Amy
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) In Truth v. justice: The morality of truth commissions, eds. Robert I. Rotberg and Dennis Thompson, 22-44. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Assuming that truth commissions sacrifice the pursuit of justice for the sake of other social purposes, Gutmann and Thompson examine the moral foundations of truth commissions, with emphasis on three moral justifications most commonly offered for them. The authors argue that each of these moral justifications, while true in part, is incomplete from a democratic perspective. The three moral justifications need to be incorporated into a consistent democratic perspective that provides a more complete foundation for truth commissions. Using the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as their paradigm, Gutmann and Thompson scrutinize the moral burden of the TRC; realist, compassionate, and historicist responses to this burden; democratic reciprocity; and “the economy of moral disagreementâ€? (seeking common ground where possible; maintaining mutual respect where not possible).


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