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Argument of Power Essay

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In this paper I am addressing the following question; are conditional accounts of forgiveness true? Conditional forgiveness is when the victim does not forgive the wrongdoer until he/she repents or comes forth with some type of merciful act. “Conditional accounts traditionally make the appropriateness of forgiveness conditional on the severity of the offense and the attitudes and behavior of the offender.” (Wolfendale, 344) Conditional account, waiting to forgive until the wrongdoer repents, leaves the power in the hands of the wrongdoer. If the victim has to wait to forgive until the wrongdoer repents then the victim is left powerless over the forgiveness process. With this being said, I believe that unconditional forgiveness is a more effective solution for the victim him/herself.
In Wolfendale's argument above the first premise indicates that if conditional accounts, the victim waiting to forgive until the wrongdoer repents, are true/genuine then it is necessary for the the victim to continuously wait for the wrongdoer to be ready to correct or develop better behavior toward the victim before it is in accordance with accepted standards of the victim forgiving the wrongdoer. The second premise states that if victim must wait before it is in accordance with accepted standards of the forgiving the wrongdoer, such as repentance, then the forgiving process is left on the wrongdoer. “It is the wrongdoer’s behavior and attitudes that dictate when it is appropriate for the victim to forgive. If the wrongdoer never repents or acknowledges their wrong then the victim can and should never forgive them.” (Wolfendale, 352) The third premise signifies that the power of forgiveness should be the the victim's hands only and if the victim d...


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...endale would agree that Mary should not let her father back into her life. “Reconciliation could only be advised if the wrongdoer had repented or significantly changed their hurtful behavior.” (Wolfendale, 349) Therefore, I do not believe that conditional accounts of forgiveness are true. Because with conditional forgiveness the victim has to wait until the wrongdoer repents to forgive,even if the victim wants to forgive and the wrongdoer's never repents, as a result leaving the victim powerless over the forgiving process.


Works Cited

Murphy, Jeffrie G., Getting Even - Forgiveness and its Limits. Jeffrie G. Murphy, GETTING EVEN - FORGIVENESS AND ITS LIMITS, Oxford University Press, 2003. 

Wolfendale, Jessica. "The Hardened Heart: The Moral Dangers Of Not Forgiving." Journal Of Social Philosophy 36.3 (2005): 344-363. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Nov. 2011.


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