There is a fundamental importance and value in maintaining a memory of wrongs done in the past. What do we do, however, when we think that we have forgiven someone, but aspects from the past wrong continue to manifest in our conscious awareness? Some may argue that the victim ought to suppress the memory of the wrong. Yet, as I maintain, doing so causes the victim to lose the moral value associated with the memory of the wrong. Maintaining the memory of a past wrong, however, may cause the victim to re-experience the negative emotions corresponding to a past wrong subsequent to the delivery of forgiveness. How ought the victim respond to the re-experiencing of negative emotions after they have already forgiven the wrongdoer? Though there are various philosophical models of forgiveness, most share two primary issues raised by remembering a past wrong, its negative corresponding emotions, or the re-experiencing of negative emotions corresponding to a past wrong. In this paper I shall suggest that given the nature of memory, the mere remembering of a past wrong and its corresponding negative emotions is not a sufficient condition for believing that one has not offered legitimate forgiveness to the wrongdoer when legitimate forgiveness was delivered at time x in the past.1 Further, I shall suggest that the re-experiencing of negative emotions that correspond to a past wrong are not indicative of whether or not the forgiveness delivered was legitimate. In the end I shall put forth a position of the process of forgiveness that conceives of the delivery of forgiveness while considering the memory-related issues respectively.
Library Research Prize - Second Place Winner
PHI499 Philosophy Senior Seminar
Berry, Zachariah, "The Role of Memory in Forgiveness: A Post-Forgiveness Investigation" (2015). Library Research Prize Student Works. 12.
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