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Blame and Forgiveness

Roadevin, Cristina (2016) Blame and Forgiveness. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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This thesis discusses the nature of two interrelated moral phenomena, blame and forgiveness. The two main questions this thesis addresses are: What is it to blame someone? What is involved in forgiveness? I begin by offering an account of blame which fits well with the attitudes of apology and forgiveness, as responses to wrongdoing. I introduce the idea that we blame wrongdoers for the disrespect and lack of consideration expressed in their actions and behaviour. I use the broad Kantian idea that whenever people wrong each other there is a failure of respect involved. Following this idea, I propose to understand wrongdoing as expressing disrespect for the victim and therefore creating a deficit of respect. I argue that there is something corrective about the expression of blame. Wrongdoers create a deficit of respect when they wrong us and blame expressively makes good that disrespect. I then develop an account of earned forgiveness through apology. I argue that apologies have reason-giving powers: they make forgiveness rational. Apologies work in relation to forgiveness because in apologizing the wrongdoer recognizes that how she treated the victim was wrong and that the victim deserves to be treated better. Apology restores at an expressive level the moral balance of respect between the victim and the wrongdoer, so that forgiveness can be forthcoming. In cases of elective forgiveness, where there is no apology, I argue that forgiveness is justified by non-desert type reasons such as generosity and strong community support. These reasons both enable and justify the victim to forgive. I further ask the question of what sort of a thing forgiveness is emotionally. I argue that forgiveness involves the overcoming of retributive emotions towards the wrongdoer, as a result of deciding to trust the wrongdoer.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Philosophy (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.689329
Depositing User: Dr Cristina Roadevin
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2016 14:42
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:15
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13524

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