Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing


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An error occurred, please try again. Very Good: A book that does not look new and has been read but is in excellent condition. Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing argues that ultimately, forgiveness is always the appropriate response to wrongdoing. In recent decades, many philosophers have claimed that unless certain conditions are met, we should resent those who have wronged us personally and that criminal offenders deserve to be punished.

Conversely, Margaret Holmgren posits that we should forgive those who have ill-treated us, but only after working through a process of addressing the wrong. Holmgren then reflects on the kinds of laws and social practices a properly forgiving society would adopt. This is a fine book defending a difficult thesis--that unconditional forgiveness of a wrongdoer is always appropriate, once the offended party has done a considerable bit of self-examination which Holmgren explains in detail Included are an ample bibliography and index An additional virtue of her book is a discussion of forgiveness in the context of criminal punishment - a discussion in which she makes creative suggestions concerning the social and legal institutions that a truly forgiving society would adopt.

I recommend that all those interested in a serious discussion of forgiveness read this book and ponder its many insights. I recommend this work for its slightly polemical approach, as it aims for no less than 'a predominant attitude of real goodwill toward all beings' in the interests of facing momentous and global challenges Norlock, Trent University, Philosophy in Review, 'Margaret Holmgren has written a very stimulating book on forgiveness … An additional virtue of her book is a discussion of forgiveness in the context of criminal punishment - a discussion in which she makes creative suggestions concerning the social and legal institutions that a truly forgiving society would adopt.

Murphy, Arizona State University and author of Getting Even: Forgiveness and Its Limits, Advance praise: 'Margaret Holmgren's book is a daring attempt to defend a new paradigm of forgiveness that would radically reorient our attitudes toward those who wrong us and our way of thinking about punishment and criminal law. Sub Forums: Downloads, Main, and 7 more.

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FORGIVENESS WITHOUT RECONCILIATION - How to Forgive Someone Who Won't Apologize

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Margaret R. Holmgren: Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing

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We identify as third-party standing what both Glen Pettigrove and Margaret Urban Walker have in mind in their recent discussions of third-party forgiveness. Such cases, Walker writes, involve.

Margaret R. Holmgren , Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing . Reviewed by

This putative standing to forgive, therefore, is not reducible to any of the aforementioned varieties: the forgiver was not wronged by the offender directly or indirectly , she does not forgive herself, and she does not forgive on behalf of anyone else. It is widely thought that forgiveness is fundamentally a matter of how one feels about another. Hughes Broadly speaking, emotion accounts of forgiveness claim that forgiveness is best understood as fundamentally a change in emotion. According to such views, were you to be wronged, your forgiving the wrongdoer fundamentally involves your overcoming or abating, or eliminating, or forswearing some relevant negative emotion e.

Among the various emotion accounts, however, there is significant disagreement on two main points: 1 about which specific emotions are implicated in forgiveness; and 2 about what must be done with those emotions in order to forgive. We survey emotion accounts by taking these two issues in turn. One way to differentiate between the varieties of emotion accounts is according to the emotion or set of emotions that are thought to be relevant to forgiveness.

A cursory survey of the forgiveness literature might give one the impression that there is widespread agreement about which emotion is crucially implicated in forgiveness. That emotion is resentment. Kekes ; Radzik ; and Zaibert But any impression of wholesale agreement would be mistaken for two reasons.

First, some emotion theorists argue that overcoming resentment is neither necessary nor sufficient for forgiveness. Such emotion theorists hold that in forgiving there are other emotions that may or must be overcome. And second, even among those who hold that overcoming resentment is either necessary or sufficient for forgiveness, there is disagreement about what resentment is. It is difficult to know what exactly these characterizations of resentment amount to, what kinds of relations hold between them, and perhaps most importantly, which view is correct.

Indeed, this is one of the more troublesome aspects of the philosophical literature on forgiveness: while it is commonly thought that forgiveness crucially implicates resentment, there is no such consensus about what resentment is contra Holmgren And as we have already noted, even though resentment is widely thought to be the central or paradigmatic emotion that forgiveness implicates, not all emotional accounts accept that view.

So here is a rough and ready way of categorizing the various emotion accounts as regards the set of relevant emotions that forgiveness implicates. Examples of such emotions include the feelings of malice, spite, or ill-will that might arise as a response to being wronged.

The minimal emotionalist can allow that there are lots of negative emotions that one might experience upon being wronged e. Alternatively, let moderate emotionalism be the view that in order to forgive, one must overcome both hostile retributive feelings and what we may call moral anger. According to moderate emotionalism, overcoming hostile feelings is not enough for forgiveness.

One may harbor moral anger towards a wrongdoer so the view goes without thereby wishing that she suffers for what she did. But both moral anger and hostile feelings must be given up in order to forgive. Paul Hughes defends something like moderate emotionalism. As Hughes notes, not all anger is moral; if you are angry because a bird drops a gift on your head, your anger is non-moral for it is not constituted by a belief that the bird has done you a wrong.

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But because resentment is, according to Hughes, a paradigm case of moral anger, it must be overcome in order for one to forgive. Charles Griswold also appears to have in mind a kind of moderate emotionalism:. In this respect his view differs from Garrard and McNaughton, who do target those emotions that involve desires to inflict suffering on the wrongdoer. Finally, let expansive emotionalism be the view that in order to forgive a wrongdoer, the victim must overcome all negative emotions that the victim has towards the wrongdoer on account of the wrongdoing in question.

In recent work, Jeffrie Murphy has also endorsed a more expansive emotionalism. Although he once argued that forgiveness ought to be construed narrowly as the overcoming of resentment, Murphy has now, citing the influence of Richards and others, become more ecumenical, writing that we should. The set of emotions that victims might possess in response to being wronged by another agent therefore form a large and diverse landscape.

But what kind of changes must occur? Writers on forgiveness often speak of the overcoming of resentment. In doing so we follow precedent e. We therefore want to know what kinds of changes are at issue with respect to each of these claims, and what relations hold between them? Does, for example, overcoming resentment entail that one has totally eliminated it?

There are at least two facts about the relevant notion of overcoming about which most emotion theorists seem to agree. First, emotion theorists have been keen to clarify that it is not just any kind of elimination of resentment that is at issue. Were you accidentally to fall and hit your head on a rock, thereby causing your resentment to be eliminated, you would not have forgiven. Or if your resentment simply withered away over the years via a process outside of your control or ken, it is widely thought that you would not have forgiven cf. Horsbrugh What kinds of reasons?

Sometimes the right kinds of reasons are claimed to be specifically moral reasons Murphy 16; Griswold But here, we should be careful to distinguish between two different questions. One question is a conceptual one, concerning what kinds of motivating reasons make forgiveness possible at all. But another kind of question, a normative one, concerns what motivating reasons make forgiveness, on any given occasion, appropriate or permissible or praiseworthy. If Murphy is right, then it appears that one cannot forgive because one wanted to win a bet.

This raises questions as to how moralized our conception of forgiveness ought to be.

Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing - Margaret Reed Holmgren - Google книги

Should our account of forgiveness require that in order to forgive, one must do so for only moral reasons? Or could one forgive for merely prudential reasons Ingram ? We will return to this issue below.

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Even when one eliminates resentment for the right reasons, it is possible to do so using the wrong kind of process. Forgiveness therefore must have the right kind of history. It has seemed to many that taking the resentment-eliminating pill does not qualify as forgiving even if one were to take the pill for the right kinds of reasons. Still, many questions remain. First, which processes of overcoming the relevant emotions are the right ones? For discussions of this judgment-based approach to how forgiveness overcomes resentment see Zaragoza , Nelkin , and Warmke Blustein argues that overcoming the relevant emotions should be understood as involving a certain kind of forgetting.

Second: need the relevant emotions be eliminated completely or perhaps only moderated, and what are we to say if the relevant emotions return perhaps unbidden, perhaps not at some point in the future? One might, for example, hold that a forgiver must eliminate all traces of the relevant negative emotion s. It is uncommon to find this view stated explicitly, but Haber has attributed to it to some philosophers 7. Others have claimed that what is needed is not the total and final elimination of resentment, but rather, some sort of moderation. Margaret Holmgren, for example, allows that resentment can reoccur:.

By overcoming her negative feelings at the time she forgives, the victim does not necessarily eliminate these feelings without a trace. They may recur from time to time throughout her life. However, once she has determined that forgiveness is the appropriate attitude towards her offender and has overcome her negative feelings towards him, it will presumably be possible for her to conquer these feelings again if they do recur.

Thus we can plausibly say that the victim has forgiven her offender when she first overcomes her resentment towards him. There is also a strand of discussion in the forgiveness literature that crucially implicates the forswearing of resentment or some other attitude or behavior. Strawson claims:. The difference between overcoming and forswearing or renouncing some attitude is not usually made explicit.

Sometimes the terms appear to be used interchangeably. The implication is that forswearing as an act of renunciation is something one does straightaway, whereas overcoming is not. One may forswear resentment by making a decision or making a commitment, but to decide to give up or commit to eliminate resentment does not imply that one has or will overcome it. Bishop Joseph Butler is commonly cited as the progenitor of emotion accounts. Butler does indeed make clear that resentment and forgiveness are importantly related, and his interpreters have often attributed to him the view that forgiveness is the forswearing or overcoming of resentment Murphy 15; Haber 16; Holmgren Garcia and others have convincingly argued, however, that Butler did not advocate the Renunciation Model, for he advocated neither of these two theses Garcia ; Griswold 19—37, and Newberry Consider the claim that Butler held that resentment is a response to injury that is incompatible with good-will and therefore forgiveness.

What Butler actually says, however, is that forgiveness is perfectly compatible with an attitude of resentment. Butler held that resentment helps us to deal with those who harm us: it motivates us to insulate ourselves from wrongdoers, and it motivates us to deter future wrongdoing via punishment.

When resentment has these ends it serves the public good and is therefore compatible with the general obligation to good-will [IX. Therefore, resentment as such is compatible with good-will. Butler does say that resentment can be dangerous, but it is not resentment as such that is the problem. But to let resentment carry one this far is to violate a general obligation to benevolence.

To forgive, then, is simply to prevent resentment from having this effect on us. Resentment itself is natural and innocent. It is only when it is indulged and allowed to bleed into revenge that a violation of goodwill occurs. But this is the work of forgiveness: to prevent resentment from leading us to seek revenge.

Therefore, Butler does not think that forgiveness is the forswearing or overcoming of resentment. What, then, is forgiveness according to Butler? It is unclear whether Griswold thinks that Butler would require emotional change. If all that is required is that resentment be kept in check, this could be done without it ever having been excessive. Other approaches to forgiveness claim that there is an important connection between forgiving and punishment. On these punishment-forbearance views of forgiveness, forgiving crucially implicates the forbearance of punishment.

According to these views, when one forgives one commits not to hold a past wrong against someone and so the story goes were one to punish, doing so would be to hold a past wrong against the wrongdoer. Punishment-forbearance accounts may come in a variety of flavors, depending on how one understands the logical relations between forgiving and forbearing punishment see, e. One could hold that forbearing punishing is necessary for forgiveness, or sufficient, or both. Alternatively, one could make a normative claim about the relations between forgiveness and punishment: forgiving a wrongdoing makes future punishment for that wrong morally inappropriate see, e.

For further discussion of the relationship between punishment and forgiveness see Griswold 32—33 , Pettigrove — , Russell , Tosi and Warmke ; and Warmke , A further stage is required, however, for even after the first stage, one might still hate the wrongdoer and hatred, according to Hampton, is incompatible with forgiveness.

Forgiving, therefore, is accomplished when one successfully goes through both stages. The views of forgiveness canvassed thus far have, by and large, focused on forgiveness as a private phenomenon, involving, for example, a change in emotion. To see what Haber and his followers have in mind, we need a bit of background. Austin called attention to two ways to understand what we do when we speak. In the first instance, we can think of an utterance simply as a locutionary act, which is simply the act of uttering a sentence with a certain sense and reference.

But we do not typically utter sentences simply for the sake of uttering sentences. We also ask questions, make demands, warn of threats, persuade detractors, express our preferences, inter alia. Austin suggested that in addition to the performance of the act of uttering a sentence, we may also perform an act in uttering a sentence, what he called illocutionary acts. The locutionary act is the utterance of the sentence itself.

The illocutionary act might be one of simply communicating a desire, or it might be one of in a different context ordering a sandwich at the deli counter. Haber focuses on a class of illocutionary acts that Austin called behabitives,. Austin Speech acts may also function as commissives , which have the illocutionary force of committing the speaker to an action or a course of conduct.

In doing so, the speaker places herself under an obligation to do or not do what she says she will do or not do. Used as a declarative, utterances or expressions may have the effect of to put it crudely changing reality in various ways. By making such an utterance, one is actually able to make it so that a ship is christened or that one is found guilty. Such a declaration could release a wrongdoer from certain kinds of personal obligations to the victim such as further apology or restitution, remorse or penance Nelkin It might also function as a way for the victim to relinquish certain rights or permissions to continue blaming the wrongdoer Warmke b.

Three clarifications about performative accounts are in order. First, one need not think that performative forgiveness possesses only one kind of illocutionary force. Some hold that it can function as a behabitive, commissive, and declarative Warmke b. Pettigrove 17—8. Third, defenders of performative accounts need not think that only speech acts e. Cognate communicative acts, gestures, and facial expressions may achieve the same result Swinburne Some philosophers have argued that forgiveness is just too diverse and diffuse of a practice to be captured by a simple, singular theory.

Responding to the view that forgiveness is the same wherever it occurs, William Neblett writes that. The key thought to which Adams draws our attention is that the phenomena counting as forgiveness can be understood as possessing an interior dimension or an exterior dimension and sometimes both cf.

In the recent years, the topic of self-forgiveness has drawn considerable attention see, e. Indeed, it does seem a commonplace that people claim to forgive themselves both for wrongs they commit against others, and for self-directed wrongs in the form of some sort of personal failure or shortcoming, such as violating a commitment to another person; or failing to adhere to a diet. Although there seems to be no logical reason to think self-forgiveness as overcoming various forms of self-directed moral reactive attitudes such as disappointment or disgust is fundamentally unlike interpersonal forgiveness, there are significant differences between the two.

First, and notwithstanding the fact that people may be angry with themselves, experience self-directed loathing, and struggle to overcome such negative emotional attitudes, it is not clear that the idea of resenting oneself is coherent and, thus, whether forgiveness as overcoming self-referential resentment is possible, at least on certain accounts of forgiveness. This is because resentment in the sense at issue requires such cognitions as that the wrongdoer is a moral agent and the victim a moral subject whose rights are in some way violated by a wrongdoer.

That one and the same person is involved simultaneously as agent and subject, wrongdoer and victim, in this drama is often thought incompatible with the idea that resentment is necessarily directed at other people Arendt Nancy Snow argues that self-forgiveness serves two important self-regarding purposes though see Hughes Second, it constitutes a second-best alternative to full interpersonal forgiveness, in the sense that when full interpersonal forgiveness is not forthcoming and there can be many reasons for this , self-forgiving is nevertheless an important and sometimes morally appropriate response to having done wrong.

This is because there is some question whether the differences between divine and human forgiveness are so significant that any comparison between them is inapt. As one author puts the point,. The difference between the human and the divine should not be underestimated, and it is possible that it would not just be over optimistic but actually dangerous to expect people to model their behavior on God.

Tombs If divine forgiveness is possible, what is its nature? What kind of emotional changes might be at issue? For many, the obvious candidate will be resentment. And so on this view, when we do wrong, God has resentment towards us. God forgives us by eliminating that resentment though see Minas One need not think that God gives up resentment, however, to adopt an emotion theory of divine forgiveness. Douglas Drabkin has argued that there is a kind of emotional change that is natural to suppose that God experiences and that this change is a good candidate for divine forgiveness.

However, on those theological views according to which God is impassible i.

Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing
Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing
Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing
Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing
Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing
Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing
Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing
Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing
Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing

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