Wronging, blame, and forgiveness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This paper argues against a popular view of forgiveness by holding that there are some cases—certain tragic dilemma cases—in which a person may be wronged by an action that is not itself wrong. Blaming a person is apt only when the person has done something that is all things considered wrong. Thus, in these tragic dilemma cases, it is not apt to blame the person who wronged by performing an all things considered right action. Yet it also seems that the person who has been wronged is in a position to forgive the wrong. But one view of forgiveness holds that forgiveness renders blame inapt. Yet, in the sorts of cases discussed, there is a point to forgiveness even when blame is already inapt.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford studies in agency and responsibility Volume 4
EditorsDavid Shoemaker
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780191843563
ISBN (Print)9780198805601, 9780198805618
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2017


  • Blame
  • Wrongdoing
  • Forgiveness
  • T. M. Scanlon
  • Susan Wolf


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