Forget Forgiveness

On the Benefits of Sympathy for Political Reconciliation

in Theoria
Author: Nir Eisikovits
View More View Less
Restricted access

The work of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has generated a great deal of interest in the role of forgiveness in politics. More specifically, it has raised the question of whether forgiveness should be a constitutive part of reconciliation processes between groups. In this paper, I argue that it should not, and that it might be both more useful and more realistic to consider something like Adam Smith’s notion of ‘sympathy’ instead. The first part examines the arguments for and against policies promoting political forgiveness. The second part suggests sympathy as an alternative. The third part considers and rejects some objections to the employment of sympathy in this context.


A Journal of Social and Political Theory


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 38 29 2
Full Text Views 3 0 0
PDF Downloads 5 0 0