Rowman and Littlefield International

Phenomenology and Forgiveness

Edited by Marguerite La Caze

Publication date:

05 October 2018

Length of book:

248 pages


Rowman & Littlefield International

ISBN-13: 9781786607782

Forgiveness—either needing or wanting to be forgiven, or trying to forgive another—is a near-universal experience and one of endless fascination. This volume mines the work of phenomenologists and the methods of phenomenology to extend and deepen our understanding of these complex experiences.

Interest in the phenomenon of forgiveness continues to grow, as the question of forgiveness for past injustices has become a global issue. Phenomenologists have a special contribution to make to the discussion of forgiveness, both because of the capacity to describe and analyse the richness of first-person experiences of forgiving and being forgiven, and because many of the twentieth-century phenomenologists, such as Arendt, Beauvoir, Fanon, Husserl, Levinas, Ricoeur, Sartre, and Stein, experienced first-hand the trials of war, detention, violence, exile and occupation that tested their power to forgive.

Phenomenology and Forgiveness addresses questions such as whether it is only ethical to forgive in response to apologies and expressions of remorse or whether forgiveness is a gift, whether some acts are unforgiveable, the role of forgiveness in political life, and whether it is possible to forgive ourselves.
The diverse essays comprising Phenomenology and Forgiveness together form a rich resource for anyone who wants to explore the intellectual and moral challenges encapsulated in the idea of forgiveness, whether they are committed to phenomenology or not. At the same time, as Ann V. Murphy argues in the book's final chapter, there is a kind of synergy between forgiveness and phenomenology. It is on this basis that one can also say that the book shows the potential phenomenology still harbors for remaking the world.