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Vladimir JankélévitchThe Time of Forgiveness$
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Aaron T. Looney

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262960

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262960.001.0001

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The Temporality of Human Existence and Action

The Temporality of Human Existence and Action

Chapter:
(p.77) 3 The Temporality of Human Existence and Action
Source:
Vladimir Jankélévitch
Author(s):

Aaron T. Looney

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823262960.003.0004

This chapter focuses on three temporal characteristics of human existence that form the background for forgiveness in Jankélévitch’s thinking: physical irreversibility, moral irrevocability, and juridical imprescriptibility. It discusses Jankélévitch as part of the tradition from Heraclitus to Kierkegaard that maintains that the past cannot be repeated but also as akin to Walter Benjamin in his claim that what remains of the past is its future. It evaluates the task of memory to resuscitate the past through an act of remembering repetition, and it examines the relations between the ethical neutrality of irreversibility, the irrevocability of contingent acts of free will, and the legal inscription of imprescriptibility for crimes against humanity. It argues that the difference between chronology and axiology should be respected and that moral complacencies and social and political utility often usurp the notion of forgiveness as a means of circumventing justice.

Keywords:   Axiology, Walter Benjamin, Crimes against Humanity, Imprescriptibility, Irreversibility, Irrevocability, Kierkegaard, Repetition

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