Tagged: “moral virtue of justice”

My partner keeps saying that I am “morally superior” because I forgive.  He does not mean this in any positive sense.  He is using it as an insult.  How do you recommend that I respond?

I would say something such as this:  “Yes, forgiveness is a moral issue and so, yes, I am showing moral behavior toward you.”  Yet, as the philosopher Joanna North has said in a philosophy journal article, when people forgive, they lower themselves in humility so that each person can meet person-to-person.  So, yes, forgiving is an admirable moral response, but it does not suggest domination of the other at all.

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Dr. Viktor Frankl says that we can find meaning in our suffering.  I think that is really insensitive to those who are oppressed.  It is insensitive to say to the oppressed: “Oh, you are a victim of racism. Rise above it by finding meaning.” What do you think?

Dr. Frankl never meant to imply that we should seek to be oppressed (or ignore the oppression) so that we can find meaning in our suffering.  You seem to be dichotomizing finding meaning and seeking justice, as if we can do only one or the other.  We must remember that Dr. Frankl was in concentration camps during World War II.  He certainly did not imply that this was good for him so that he could find meaning in his suffering.  Instead, we need to right the wrongs of injustice by practicing the moral virtue of justice and, as the same time, find meaning in our suffering.  These two (seeking justice and finding meaning in suffering) are teammates, not opponents.

Editor’s Note: Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor. He was the founder of logotherapy, a school of psychotherapy which describes a search for a life meaning as the central human motivational force. Dr. Frankl published 39 books including his best-selling autobiographical Man’s Search for Meaning, based on his experiences in various Nazi concentration camps.
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