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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Geoffrey Scarre

Scarre, Geoffrey (2014). Virtuous condonation. Philosophical Papers 43(4): 405-428.

Author(s) from Durham


Moral philosophers have mostly condemned the condonation of a bad act as being close to complicity in wrongdoing or, at best, as indicative of a lax moral conscience. I argue, in contrast, that condoning a wrongful act is sometimes not only permissible but positively virtuous. After considering the nature of condonation, I describe a range of circumstances in which it may be an appropriate response to wrongdoing, expressing such virtues as compassion and mercifulness, tolerance of human frailty, a love of amity, and a proper respectfulness for others’ autonomy as moral agents.