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The Unforgivable Evil and the Scandal of Forgiveness

Il prof. Nicolas De Warren (KU Leuven, Institute of Philosophy) tiene un seminario di filosofia nell'ambito del ciclo Colloquium "Philosophy & Global Affairs" per gli studenti del corso di laurea magistrale in Global Politics and Euro-Mediterranean Relations

Lezione del prof. Nicolas De Warren (KU Leuven, Institute of Philosophy) sul tema "The Unforgivable Evil and the Scandal of Forgiveness" per Colloquium "Philosophy & Global Affairs", organizzato dal prof. Luigi Caranti nell'ambito del corso di laurea magistrale in Global Politics and Euro-Mediterranean Relations (Dipartimento di Scienze politiche e sociali, Università di Catania).


This talk is about the way in which the 20th-century's atrocities ‒ first and foremost the 2 World Wars and the Holocaust ‒ have changed the notion of forgiveness and how philosophy has coped with this need for a new conceptualization. Given the relative novelty of a philosophical concern with forgiveness and the cultural landscape of the many faces of contemporary forgiveness, one finds a wide range of views and spirited disagreement on the most basic issues regarding the meaning and possibility of forgiveness. Matters are rendered even more intractable, given that the incoherence and hence impossibility of forgiveness as argued by some philosophers has been proclaimed by others as the very heart of genuine forgiveness. Forgiveness is the only ethical act where the threat of meaninglessness and gratuitousness can nonetheless be claimed as constitutive of its very purity and meaning. While treating the particularly difficult yet intriguing dimension of this new concept, the talk sheds light on the relevance of forgiveness for human rights culture.

Nicolas de Warren

Nicolas de Warren studied philosophy in Paris, Heidelberg and Boston, and obtained his PhD from Boston University in 2001. Since 2012, he holds a BOF/ZAP Professorship in the Center for Phenomenology and Continental Philosophy / Husserl Archives at KU Leuven. He has published widely on topics in phenomenology, aesthetics, history of philosophy and political philosophy, and is the author of Husserl and the Promise of Time: Subjectivity in Transcendental Phenomenology, Cambridge University Press, 2009. His most recent publications include an essay on Merleau-Ponty's aesthetics (Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology) and an essay on time and forgiveness (Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Phenomenology). He is also an editor of the book series Contributions to Phenomenology. He is currently writing a book on the unforgivable.

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