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A way to to improve one,s self

Wrongdoing and Forgiveness

Joanna North

Cambridge University Press, 1987

Research details

Type of paper: Theoretical/Conceptual/Review

Open Access: Yes


To forgive a person for a wrong he has done has often been valued as morally good and as indicative of a benevolent and merciful character. But while forgiveness has been recognized as valuable its nature as a moral response has largely been ignored by modern moral philosophers who work outside the confines of a religious context. Where it has been discussed, forgiveness has been thought particularly difficult to define, and some have thought the forgiving response paradoxical or even impossible. I shall discuss some of these difficulties and suggest firstly that the value of forgiveness lies in the fact that it essentially requires a recognition of the wrongdoer's responsibility for his action, and secondly that forgiveness typically involves an effort on the part of the one wronged: a conscious attempt to improve oneself in relation to the wrongdoer.