Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Apology is a common moral practice at both the interpersonal and institutional level. However, many critical issues concerning apology are unaddressed by the philosophical literature. In this project, I develop and defend a number of fundamental theses regarding the moral practice of apology and the work it can do to satisfy duties of reparation. Specifically, I argue that: (1) sincere apologies can be obligatory and legitimately coerced, which entails that doxastic and affective voluntarism are true; (2) it is possible to apologize on behalf of another for wrongs one did not commit, including historical wrongs; (3) one can accept an apology on behalf of another, including the dead; (4) accepting an apology is a prima facie obligation that all wronged parties bear. I conclude by arguing that, while forgiveness is necessary for a wrongdoer to achieve full moral redemption, apology is itself intrinsically partially redemptive and indeed indispensable for achieving full redemption.
Emerick, Barrett Matthew, "Apology as an Indispensable Practice of Moral Repair" (2011). Philosophy Graduate Theses & Dissertations. 15.