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Volume 49 • Number 3

July 2012



Forgiveness, Inspiration, and the Powers of Reparation

by Macalester Bell

Forgiveness seems especially apt in cases where the wrongdoer first performs some act of reparation. Suppose Valerie betrays Madison's trust out of careerist self-interest. The betrayal is serious, no excusing or exempting conditions obtain, and Madison responds with justified resentment. In one world, Valerie never acknowledges the impropriety of her past act and continues on as before. In another world, Valerie apologizes and sends Madison a beautiful bouquet of flowers. All else being equal, forgiveness seems called for or apt in the second case in a way that it does not in the first. Reparative activities have a certain power, and forgiving in response to the wrongdoer's reparation strikes many as especially apt.

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ISSN: 2152-1123