One of the central moral challenges facing numerous political communities today is political reconciliation. In the aftermath of repression, conflict, and injustice, communities confront the task of repairing damaged relationships among citizens and between citizens and officials. In A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation, I develop a theory of what this process entails and of its moral significance. My central claim is that political relationships are damaged when and to the extent that they fail to express reciprocity and respect for agency. Failures of reciprocity and respect for agency are how relationships go wrong during extended periods of repression and conflict, and it is in cultivating these two values in relations among citizens and officials that relationships are repaired. I am very grateful for the thoughtful, incisive, and stimulating comments provided by Cindy Holder, Tracy Isaacs, and Alice MacLachlan. In this reply to their commentaries, I first provide a brief background of the motivation for my project and an overview of the main theses that I defend over the course of my book. I then turn to three kinds of concerns raised by Holder, Isaacs, and MacLachlan. The first urges me to rethink the restriction of my analysis of political reconciliation to contexts of transition. The second challenges the particular way that I conceptualize the demands of reciprocity and respect for agency in political relationships. The final set turns to my analysis of the processes that can facilitate reconciliation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-177
Number of pages13
JournalCriminal Law and Philosophy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • International criminal trials
  • Reconciliation
  • Transitional justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Law


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