facebookForgiveness by Paul M. Hughes,Brandon Warmke | Templeton

A change between the wrongdoer and wronged


Paul M. Hughes, Brandon Warmke

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010

Research details

Type of paper: Theoretical/Conceptual/Review

Open Access: Yes


To forgive is to respond in a particular way to someone who has treated someone badly or wrongly. Forgiveness is therefore a dyadic relation involving a wrongdoer and a wronged party, and is thought to be a way in which victims of wrongdoing alter both their and a wrongdoer’s status by, for instance, acknowledging yet moving past a moral transgression. Commonly, forgiveness is thought to involve the giving up of certain negative emotions towards the wrongdoer, the forbearance of negative reactions against the wrongdoer, and possibly the restoration of the relationship with the wrongdoer. Much philosophical discussion of forgiveness centers on three primary questions: (1) What is the nature of forgiveness—what must one do in order to forgive; (2) Who has standing to forgive—when is one in a position to forgive a wrongdoer; and (3) What are the norms governing forgiveness—when is forgiveness morally good, right, or praiseworthy?