Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Stanislaus Husi

Committee Members

Andrea Westlund, William Bristow


Anger, Ethics, Forgiveness, Moral Psychology, Resentment, Virtue


This essay can largely be seen as having two functions: contributing to the philosophical literature on the nature of forgiveness and defending anger as a morally worth class of attitudes. I will begin by sketching out some of the elements of forgiveness before presenting a prominent debate that is found in this domain. Essentially, this dispute focuses on whether or not conditions may be placed on instances of genuine forgiveness. Conditional accounts argue that it is perfectly acceptable or even rationally required that agents attach conditions to their forgiveness (e.g. a change of heart by the wrongdoer). Proponents of unconditional forgiveness, as the name implies, will argue that the placement of conditions on forgiveness are unacceptable and harm the inherent nature of forgiveness to some degree. As I will argue, proponents of conditional views of forgiveness will often fail to provide a full defense of the anger that one maintains when opting not to forgive. Given that my ultimate goal is to provide my own conditional account of forgiveness, I will attempt to provide that very defense by arguing that anger is, at times, an appropriate and morally worthy response to culpable wrongdoing. Ultimately, I will push this even further and argue that anger is morally superior to forgiveness in instances of severe wrongdoing committed by unrepentant offenders.

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