Forgiveness and betrayal

Cynthia Townley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter draws some conclusions about moral alignment and moral pluralism from an examination of forgiveness and betrayal. While forgiveness and betrayal seem very different phenomena, they are parallel in some instructive ways. Explicating the similar structures of forgiveness and betrayal can illuminate their respective roles in the moral economies of agential life, of relationship, and within networks of relationship. Looking at these similarities, as well as differences, also helps to show up some of the characteristics of the moral domain, understood as a complex social domain that comprises particular direct relationships in which betrayals and forgivenesses occur, and in which agents inhabit multiple overlapping moral communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForgiveness
Subtitle of host publicationpromise, possibility & failure
EditorsGeoffrey Karabin, Karolina Wigura
Place of PublicationOxford, U.K.
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781848880559
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameProbing the boundaries
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press


  • forgiveness
  • betrayal
  • trust
  • moral community
  • moral pluralism
  • division of moral labour


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