When Forgiveness Comes Easy

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  1. 1.

    See e.g. Warmke, Brandon. "Articulate forgiveness and normative constraints." Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45.4 (2015): 490–514.; Murphy, Jeffrie G. Getting even: Forgiveness and its limits. (Oxford University Press, 2003).; Darwall, Stephen L. The second-person standpoint: Morality, respect, and accountability. (Harvard University Press, 2006).

  2. 2.

    The idea that emotions are not exhausted by judgements is uncontroversial. Virtually all theorists agree that emotions must involve arousal states or motivational components. Disagreement usually concerns the extent to which judgements are constitutive for emotions. Luckily, philosophers do agree that forgiveness must involve certain judgements (see below). For an excellent introduction consult Mulligan, Kevin, and Klaus R. Scherer. "Toward a working definition of emotion." Emotion Review 4.4 (2012): 345–357.

  3. 3.

    Hieronymi, Pamela. "Articulating an uncompromising forgiveness." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62.3 (2001): 529–555, 530.

  4. 4.

    These labels are taken from Warmke, op. cit.

  5. 5.

    E.g. Warmke, op. cit.; Murphy, op. cit.; Zaragoza, Kevin. "Forgiveness and standing." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84.3 (2012): 604–621.; Allais, Lucy. "Wiping the slate clean: the heart of forgiveness." Philosophy & Public Affairs 36.1 (2008): 33–68.; Roberts, Robert C. "Forgivingness." American Philosophical Quarterly 32.4 (1995): 289–306.

  6. 6.

    Hieronymi, op. cit., 546.

  7. 7.

    Garrard, Eve, and David McNaughton. "III—In Defence of Unconditional Forgiveness." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Hardback). Vol. 103. No. 1. Oxford, UK and Boston, USA: Blackwell Science Ltd, 2003. 39–60.

  8. 8.

    Hughes, Paul M. "What is involved in forgiving?." The Journal of Value Inquiry 27.3–4 (1993): 331–340.

  9. 9.

    Cohen, Dov, and Richard E. Nisbett. "Culture of honor: The psychology of violence in the South." Boulder, CO: Westview Press Inc (1996).

  10. 10.

    Hieronymi, op. cit.; Warmke, op. cit.; Zaragoza, op. cit.; Griswold, Charles. Forgiveness: A philosophical exploration. Cambridge University Press, 2007, 55.

  11. 11.

    Murphy, Jeffrie G., and Jean Hampton. Forgiveness and mercy. Cambridge University Press, 1990.

  12. 12.

    Milam, Per-Erik. "Reasons to forgive." Analysis (2018).

  13. 13.


  14. 14.

    Hieronymi, op. cit., 545.

  15. 15.

    Griswold, op. cit. 40.

  16. 16.

    Murphy, Jeffrie G., Getting even: Forgiveness and its limits. Oxford University Press, 2003. p. 13.

  17. 17.

    Mental affirmation is a property Cassam attributes to judging, not endorsing.

  18. 18.

    Cassam, Quassim. "Judging, believing and thinking." Philosophical Issues 20.1 (2010): 80–95. observes that “one can imagine someone who finds it psychologically impossible mentally to affirm to herself that P but who nevertheless believes that P”.

  19. 19.

    Some would argue that such tacit beliefs are not beliefs, but, rather, a different type of mental state which has been called “alief” (see Gendler, Tamar Szabó. "Alief and belief." The Journal of philosophy 105.10 (2008): 634–663.)

  20. 20.

    For instance, Christopher Peacocke claims that ``to make a judgement is the fundamental way to form a belief'' (Smith, Barry C., Crispin Wright, and Cynthia Macdonald, eds. Knowing our own minds. Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 88.), and Tim Crane argues that ``judgement is the formation of belief'' (Crane, Tim. "Elements of mind: an introduction to the philosophy of mind.", Oxford University Press, 201.).

  21. 21.

    Hieronymi, op. cit. 548.

  22. 22.

    Hieronymi, op. cit. 546.

  23. 23.

    Moller, Dan. "Love and death." The Journal of Philosophy104.6 (2007): 301–316.

  24. 24.

    Bonanno, George A., et al. "Resilience to loss in bereaved spouses, bereaved parents, and bereaved gay men." Journal of personality and social psychology 88.5 (2005): 827. 20f.

  25. 25.

    Ibid.; Zisook, Sidney, et al. "The many faces of depression following spousal bereavement." Journal of affective disorders 45.1–2 (1997): 85–95.

  26. 26.

    Litz, Brett T., et al. "Early intervention for trauma: Current status and future directions." Clinical psychology: science and practice 9.2 (2002): 112–134.

  27. 27.

    Jordan, John R., and Robert A. Neimeyer. "Does grief counseling work?." Death studies 27.9 (2003): 765–786.

  28. 28.

    Bonanno, George A., et al. "Resilience to loss in bereaved spouses, bereaved parents, and bereaved gay men." Journal of personality and social psychology 88.5 (2005): 827.

  29. 29.

    Moller, op. cit., 310.

  30. 30.


  31. 31.

    Ibid. 306.

  32. 32.

    Brickman, Philip, Dan Coates, and Ronnie Janoff-Bulman. "Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative?." Journal of personality and social psychology 36.8 (1978): 917. show that patients with a debilitating spinal cord injury are surprisingly resilient. Gilbert, Daniel T., et al. "Immune neglect: a source of durability bias in affective forecasting." Journal of personality and social psychology 75.3 (1998): 617. present evidence that people, quite generally, overestimate the emotional reactions to negative events. Riis, Jason, et al. "Ignorance of hedonic adaptation to hemodialysis: a study using ecological momentary assessment." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 134.1 (2005): 3. provide evidence that subjects underestimate how quickly they will adapt to severely impoverished health.

  33. 33.

    This view is defended by Carruthers and Schwitzgebel (see Carruthers, Peter. The opacity of mind: An integrative theory of self-knowledge. OUP Oxford, 2011.; Schwitzgebel, Eric. "The unreliability of naive introspection." Philosophical Review 117.2 (2008): 245–273.)

  34. 34.

    A paradigm example is Nichols, Shaun, and Stephen P. Stich. Mindreading: an integrated account of pretence, self-awareness, and understanding other minds. Clarendon Press/Oxford University Press, 2003. who argue that although agents are in a privileged position to detect their current mental states, the causes of one’s mental states cannot be detected and must be recovered by arrow prone “reasoning”. Goldman, Alvin I. Simulating minds: The philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of mindreading. Oxford University Press, 2006. 233. nicely sums up the consensus asserting that “[n]o careful privileged-access theorist should claim that people have introspective access to the causes of their behavior, in fact, it seems adequate to call it philosophical orthodoxy.”

  35. 35.

    Nisbett, Richard E., and Timothy D. Wilson. "Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes." Psychological review 84.3 (1977): 231.

  36. 36.

    Carruthers. Op. cit. 342.

  37. 37.

    Wegner, op. cit.

  38. 38.

    Carruthers, op. cit. 342.

  39. 39.


  40. 40.

    Johansson, Petter, et al. "Failure to detect mismatches between intention and outcome in a simple decision task." Science 310.5745 (2005): 116–119.

  41. 41.

    Hall, Lars, Petter Johansson, and Thomas Strandberg. "Lifting the veil of morality: Choice blindness and attitude reversals on a self-transforming survey." PloS one 7.9 (2012).

  42. 42.

    I owe this formulation to an anonymous reviewer.

  43. 43.

    Griswold, op. cit. p. 53.

  44. 44.

    Warmke, op. cit. 503; Murphy, op. cit. 15; Griswold, op. cit. xv.

  45. 45.

    See Griswold, op. cit.

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Schönherr, J. When Forgiveness Comes Easy. J Value Inquiry 53, 513–528 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10790-018-9673-6

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