Restore our capability to carry on
The Journal of Value Inquiry, 1993
Type of paper: Theoretical/Conceptual/Review
Open Access: No
Self-forgiveness has been a neglected topic in recent philosophical writing, though much has been written about its near cousin, interpersonal forgive-ness. Yet several benefits are to be gained from thinking about self-forgiveness. Analyzing self-forgiveness throws into relief the ontological and moral conditions under which forgiveness in interpersonal contexts is appropriate. Self-forgiveness can provide a second-best alternative to interpersonal forgiveness in situations in which full interpersonal forgiveness is not or cannot be achieved. Self-forgiveness plays this role because of its most interesting characteristic: it restores our capability to carry on as functioning agents even after we have committed moral wrongs or harmed others. Why self-forgiveness is restorative, and why it can elucidate as well as be an alternative to full interpersonal forgiveness will become apparent in what follows.