Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 49–60

Complicity in Thought and Language: Toleration of Wrong

  • Judith Lee Kissell

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022938600602

Cite this article as:
Kissell, J.L. Journal of Medical Humanities (1999) 20: 49. doi:10.1023/A:1022938600602


Complicity as “toleration of wrong” is deeply rooted in Western language and narratives. It is based on assumptions about the self, our relationship to the world and personal accountability that differ from the Common Law's and moral theology's standard doctrines. How we blame others for “tolerating wrong” depends upon the moral force of public discourse and upon the meaning of censure as exhortation. Censure as blame is usually retrospective, while censure as exhortation is forward-looking and stresses moral maturity and flourishing.

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Lee Kissell
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Health Policy and EthicsCreighton UniversityOmaha