The Reconciliation Theory of Atonement
Chapter 4 defends a Kantian version of a reconciliation theory of atonement for moral guilt. Reconciliation is a matter of repairing the relationships that constitute a moral community. A theory of atonement built on this ideal attends to all of the parties who are negatively affected by wrongdoing: victims, communities, and wrongdoers themselves. By highlighting the damage done to relationships, we are encouraged to notice the varied kinds of harms that wrongdoing causes — from material harms, to sullied reputations, to the creation of fear and self-hatred — and to consider what can heal those wounds. This chapter articulates the goal of moral reconciliation and examines the means to achieving that goal, including apology, the moral emotions, empathy, and reparations.
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