Ethical Perspectives

December 2010

Justice, Forgiveness, and Care. A Pragmatic Balance

Andrew Fiala


This paper argues for a pragmatic resolution to the conflict between justice and forgiveness. Authors such as Derrida, who see a paradox or aporia in the conflict between justice and forgiveness, often conceive each value in absolute terms. A pragmatic approach deemphasizes absolutism and focuses instead on pluralism and sensitivity to context. One useful example of a pragmatic approach is found in care ethics, as described by Noddings. Care ethics emphasizes the concrete specificity of relationships and the needs and interests of individuals, while downplaying abstract and absolute moral principles. This approach is described in opposition to more traditional religious and moral theories that hold justice or forgiveness as abstract and mutually opposed values.

 Page : 580 - 602

To  Ethical Perspectives 4/2010