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Title: Forgiveness and Hatred
Author(s): VERBIN, N.
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 17    Issue: 4   Date: 2010   
Pages: 603-625
DOI: 10.2143/EP.17.4.2059848

Abstract :
Philosophical accounts of forgiveness ordinarily emphasize three components: i) the overcoming of hostile emotions toward the wrongdoer; ii) a change of heart toward the wrongdoer, which goes beyond the cessation of hostile emotions and involves the acquisition of a more positive attitude toward him or her; iii) a willingness to restore the relationship and proceed toward reconciliation. In this paper, I examine these three presumed components, endorsing the first but rejecting the second and the third as unnecessary features of forgiveness. I thus argue that forgiveness is, first and foremost, a unilateral, intra-psychic process that does not necessarily lead to reconciliation or to the fostering of friendly relations. The paper has three parts. In the first part, I argue that overcoming resentment toward one’s assailant by coming to view oneself more favourably lies at the core of forgiveness. In the second part, I show that one need not be able to view one’s assailant in a different and more favourable light to be able to overcome one’s resentment and forgive one’s assailant. Furthermore, in the third part, I argue that a wholly negative view of the wrongdoer, moral hatred and a refusal to be reconciled with him or her are compatible with forgiving him or her.

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