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Keywords:

  • forgiveness;
  • repentance;
  • punishment;
  • excusing

Abstract

After discussing at some length the nature of interpersonal forgiveness and its relation to punishment, the author addresses the main question of the essay: are states the sorts of entities that can forgive; and if they are, is it sometimes desirable that they forgive? The author argues that states can forgive and very often do; and that sometimes it is desirable that they do so. The essay closes by considering the complexities that arise when the state wants to forgive but the victim does not, and conversely.