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Apologies as Remedies/Apologies as Weapons (w/ Nick Smith)

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Jackman Humanities Institute

170 St. George Street

Rm 100

Toronto, ON M5R 2M8

Canada

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Apologies pervade our news headlines and our private affairs, but how should we evaluate these complex rituals? An apology can save a marriage, salvage a career, reduce settlement damages by millions, shave years off of criminal sentences, or even prevent a war. Whether from a child nudged to apologize to a sibling or an offender expressing remorse in hopes of avoiding execution, expressions of contrition can convey meaning across many different kinds of value and we suffer from considerable confusion about the moral meanings and social functions of these interactions.

Beyond apologies from individuals, collective apologies add layers of intricacy and policy implications. If an executive publicly apologizes for a faulty product while corporate counsel simultaneously denies wrongdoing and obscures personal responsibility of anyone in the organization, how does this correspond to common expectations that accepting blame and changing behavior are cornerstones of good apologies? If a head of state draws attention to and apologizes for the offenses of a previous administration and provides only symbolic redress, how should we understand the value of such political theater?

Nick Smith
Professor of Philosophy & Department Chair
University of New Hampshire

Co-sponsor: Jackman Humanities Institute

Fri, Oct 20, 2017
03:30 PM - 05:00 PM
Room 100, Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George Street

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Jackman Humanities Institute

170 St. George Street

Rm 100

Toronto, ON M5R 2M8

Canada

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