Theses Bachelor's

To Err is Human; to Forgive... Also Human: An Exploration of How We Can Forgive the Unrepentant Non-Apologist

Kang, Won Joon

A seemingly universal response to a wrongdoing is to forgive the wrongdoer for what they have done. It may be easy to recall an instance in which we forgave our wrongdoer(s) for their mistreatment of us. However, if a wrongdoer does not recognize their action as a wrongdoing and does not apologize for it, how may we forgive them? This thesis attempts to answer this primary question of how we can forgive the unrepentant non-apologist. Part I attempts to clarify the fundamental features of forgiveness and underscore what forgiveness is not. Part II compares two accounts of forgiveness: one which supports the notion that forgiveness is a nonobligatory gift, and the other which rejects this notion and posits that forgiveness can only follow from an apology. This section will also explore questions of desert, rationality, and moral repair. Part III will conclude this thesis by expanding on the concepts of moral repair and self-respect in relation to my proposed definition of "moral transformation," which I argue encapsulates what we mean when we say we've "let go" or "moved on" from our wrongdoing.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Russell, Francey
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 31, 2022