Rowman and Littlefield International

The Moral Psychology of Forgiveness

Edited by Kathryn J. Norlock

4 Reviews

This volume considers challenges to forgiveness in the most difficult circumstances, such as in criminal justice contexts, when the victim is dead or when bystanders disagree, and when anger and resentment seem preferable and important.

Hardback ISBN: 9781786601377 Release date: May 2017
£85.00 €119.00 $133.00
Paperback ISBN: 9781786601384 Release date: Oct 2018
£24.95 €34.95 $39.95
Ebook ISBN: 9781786601391 Release date: May 2017
£24.95 €34.95 $37.95

Series: Moral Psychology of the Emotions

Pages: 210


The feeling that one can’t get over a moral wrong is challenging even in the best of circumstances. This volume considers challenges to forgiveness in the most difficult circumstances. It explores forgiveness in criminal justice contexts, under oppression, after genocide, when the victim is dead or when bystanders disagree, when many different negative reactions abound, and when anger and resentment seem preferable and important.

The book gathers together a diverse assembly of authors with publication and expertise in forgiveness, while centering the work of new voices in the field and pursuing new lines of inquiry grounded in empirical literature. Some scholars consider how forgiveness influences and is influenced by our other mental states and emotions, while other authors explore the moral value of the emotions attendant upon forgiveness in particularly challenging contexts. Some authors critically assess and advance applications of the standard view of forgiveness predominant in Anglophone philosophy of forgiveness as the overcoming of resentment, while others offer rejections of basic aspects of the standard view, such as what sorts of feelings are compatible with forgiving. The book offers new directions for inquiry into forgiveness, and shows that the moral psychology of forgiveness continues to enjoy challenges to its theoretical structure and its practical possibilities.

Introduction: The Challenges of Forgiveness in Context Kathryn J. Norlock / 1. Intersubjectivity and Embodiment: Exploring the Role of the Maternal in the Language of Forgiveness and Reconciliation Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela / 2.What Victims Say and How They Say it Matters: Effects of Victims’ Post-Transgression Responses and Form of Communication on Transgressors’ Apologies C. Ward Struthers, Joshua Guilfoyle, Careen Khoury, Elizabeth van Monsjou, Joni Sasaki, Curtis Phills, Rebecca Young, and Zdravko Marjanovic / 3. An Aristotelian Perspective on Forgiveness Education in Contentious World Regions Robert D. Enright and Mary Jacqueline Song / 4. Forgiveness, Exemplars, and the Oppressed Myisha Cherry / 5.Resentment, Punitiveness, and Forgiveness: Criminal Sanction and Civil Society, by Jonathan Jacobs / 6. Once More With Feeling: Defending the Goodwill Account of Forgiveness, David McNaughton and Eve Garrard / 7. Forgiveness and Reconciliation Barrett Emerick / 8. In Defense of Third-Party Forgiveness Alice MacLachlan / Notes on Contributors / Bibliography

Kathryn J. Norlock is Professor of Philosophy and the Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics at Trent University. She is the author of Forgiveness from a Feminist Perspective (2009) and co-editor of Evil, Political Violence, and Forgiveness (2009).

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4 Reviews

The Moral Psychology of Forgiveness is a welcome addition to the philosophical and psychological literature on forgiveness. It considers the nature of forgiveness, the norms that govern it, and the means to facilitate it in difficult social contexts. Both those coming to the topic for the first time and those already expert in the field will find much to appreciate.

Glen Pettigrove, University of Glasgow

This is a fresh collection of essays addressing central philosophical issues about forgiveness in ways that are richly informed by phenomenology and social science. Questions such as what types of forgiveness there are, what the essence of forgiveness might be, how forgiveness morally may be encouraged, what reasons there are for one to forgive, and when one should all receive enlightening answers that weave the philosophical and the psychological.

Thaddeus Metz, University of Johannesburg

This highly accessible collection broadens our understanding of what forgiveness can be, of the contexts in which it can and cannot do its work, and of the central relevance of the moral and emotional phenomenology of victims, transgressors, and bystanders. I hope it will stimulate philosophers, psychologists and others to reconsider the viability of a univocal notion of forgiveness.

Susan Dwyer, University of Maryland

The Moral Psychology of Forgiveness encourages readers to reflect on the many different ways one may understand forgiveness and the many different reasons one may (or may not) value it. Philosophers and psychologists often appear to talk past one another on this topic. But Kathryn Norlock’s introduction skillfully shapes the multiplicity of voices into a conversation.

Linda Radzik, Professor of Philosophy, Texas A&M University

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