Forgiveness by Joram Graf Haber

By Joram Graf Haber

_A thorough exam of the character and price of forgiveness....This booklet remains on the subject of its subject material and strikes inside a good concentration. it's good written and carefully researched._

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The answer is far from obvious. " This being so, it should follow that, when S says "I forgive you" without representing that he has overcome his resentment, he would nonetheless succeed in expressing bis attitude. To be sure, he would abuse the fonnula-for which abuse he could be censured-but it would not follow that he failed to express forgiveness. The most we . could say is that S had no business uttering the fonnula in the first place. It is indeed tempting to say that the falsity of (6) does not prevent the formula's taking place-if only because, as we have seen, it is possible to forgive in the presence of resentment.

But that is not all. There are 'other questions, equally important, that we want to ask about this act. We want to know, for instance, wh ether forgiveness is an act that one is obligated to perforrn. If the answer is yes, then we will want also to know whether the obligation is strict or loose. In addition, we want to know whether there are times one deserves to be forgiven, or whether forgiveness is always at the discretion of the victim; whether there are any acts that are in principle unforgiveable; and so on and so forth.

Furthermore, in both their theses, showing merey essentially involves mitigating a punishment that the wrongdoer deserves. have alreadv seen above and in Chapter 1, forgiveness need not entml the mitigation of a punishment. Finally, while in Smart's aceount, at least, 64 Part One merey often turns out to be a vice rather than a virtue, forgiveness is ordinarily thought of as a virtuous quality. P. Twambley, whose artic1e "Merey and Forgiveness" is in part a eritique of Smart' s position, understands Smart to be indeed arguing that merey is a quality unique to judges.

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