Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 1309–1323 | Cite as

Reactive Attitudes, Forgiveness, and the Second-Person Standpoint

  • Alexandra Couto


Philosophers discussing forgiveness have usually been split between those who think that forgiveness is typically virtuous, even when the wrongdoer doesn’t repent, and those who think that, for forgiveness to be virtuous, certain pre-conditions must be satisfied. I argue that Darwall’s second-personal account of morality offers significant theoretical support for the latter view. I argue that if, as Darwall claims, reactive attitudes issue a demand, this demand needs to be adequately answered for forgiveness to be warranted. It follows that we should reject the thesis that unconditional forgiveness is appropriate in the absence of repentance.


Forgiveness Darwall Second-person standpoint Reactive attitudes 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Department, CSMNOslo UniversityOsloNorway

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