Department of Philosophy Spring 2024 Colloquium: Santiago Amaya, University of the Andes


3 to 5 p.m., Feb. 9, 2024

See the workshop webpage for more information:

Professor Amaya's paper is titled, "Forgiveness as Politics."

Forgiveness plays a role regulating interpersonal relations—typically, those that occur within the private domain of our lives. Yet, the practice has a distinctive political dimension. The dimension is not limited to so-called political acts of forgiveness, for instance, when a state accepts the apologies issued by another state (Govier 2023) or cases of presidential pardon (Minow 2019; Smith 2023). Even within our private lives, or so I argue in the talk, there is politics in forgiveness.
I begin by describing a set of cases, informed by experiences of forgiveness occurring in the Colombian conflict, but also in other parts of the world. Then I turn to the main argument. I argue that genuine forgiveness requires in these cases certain kind of political arrangements, which are normally brought about by the presence of third parties. The presence of these parties can alter the processes of apologizing and forgiving, shifting the power imbalances that first led to the transgression. After illustrating the point by discussing the role that third parties can play in the processes of memory construction, I show how the lessons derived from these allegedly “marginal” cases generalize to more mundane situations of forgiveness.