Mookherjee, M (2016) Healing Multiculturalism: Middle-Ground Liberal Forgiveness in a Diverse Public Realm. Philosophia, 44 (4). pp. 1057-1078. ISSN 1574-9274

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This article examines debates about political forgiveness in liberal, pluralist societies. Although the concept of forgiveness is not usually taken up by liberals, I outline a plausible conception by exploring two recent approaches. The first, ‘unattached articulation’, concept requires no real emotional change on the forgiver’s part, but rather a form of civic restraint. In contrast, the second version highlights a strong form of empathy for perpetrators. In spite of their advantages, each concept proves too extreme. The problems are revealed by focusing on the case of the Harkis, who fought for the French during the Algerian war. Often still marginalised in French society, their case helps to highlight the conceivability of a ‘middle-ground’ or moderate concept of political forgiveness. Its core rests on the forgiver’s care for the social world. While this concept brings considerable challenges also, and is not inevitable in any particular case, it entails a more plausible combination of emotional and rational shifts in the forgiver’s world-view. Although the article does not recommend forgiveness by any person or group, it observes, recalling Arendt’s idea of amor mundi or ‘love of the world’, that political forgiveness may sustain a viable connection between diverse citizens’ public and non-public lives.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Springer at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: political forgiveness; liberalism; multiculturalism; love of the world; empathy; compassion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2016 16:19
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2018 10:42

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