Forgiveness

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Philosopher Vladimir Jankelevitch has only recently begun to receive his due from the English-speaking world, thanks in part to discussions of his thought by Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, and Paul Ricoeur. Yet Jankelevitch has long been known internationally for his unique perspective that draws from a range of disciplines outside the philosophical canon. Originally published in 1967, Le Pardon, or Forgiveness, is one of Jankelevitch's most influential works. In it, he characterizes the ultimate ethical act of forgiving as behaving toward the perpetrator as if he or she had never committed the action, rather than merely forgetting or rationalizing it - a controversial notion when considering events as emotionally charged as the Holocaust. Like so many of Jankelevitch's works, Forgiveness transcends standard treatments of moral problems, not simply generating a treatise on one subject but incorporating discussions of topics such as free will, giving, creativity, and temporality. Translator Andrew Kelley here masterfully captures Jankelevitch's melodic prose and, in a substantive introduction, reviews his life and intellectual contributions. Forgiveness is an essential part of that legacy, and this long-overdue English translation will be an indispensable guide to understanding one of the great Western philosophers of the twentieth century.