Frontiers of Reconciliation
In this research project, I aim to construct a normative theory of political reconciliation and apply it to what I call “frontiers of reconciliation”, namely global injustices, discord within liberal societies and interpersonal conflicts. That is I will transfer the rationale of (political) reconciliation to a broader range of political problems and ultimately I will base a fresh approach in normative ethics on it.
At first, I will develop the constituents of a normative theory of reconciliation by analysing recent cases of successful conciliatory processes. I call this a normative theory, because it provides a model for dealing with institutional and interactive wrongdoing. With this model in hand, I will explore possibilities to shift the boundaries within which this conception can be applied. My basic intuition is that even in cases of global injustice we are confronted with the need to first think about transitional justice. In order to be able to address and successfully realize demands of social or distributive justice beyond the national context, it is necessary to develop a sense of global belonging and responsibility, which necessitate reflections on global reconciliation measures. The same applies to the increasing social division within liberal societies. Reconciliation, I believe, is not only a question of transition to democracy, but also an internal condition for the functioning of liberal societies. I will therefore try to make clear what reconciliation can mean here and how the processes of social division that are currently evident in right-wing populism could be overcome. Finally, I will examine to what extent the normative reconciliation model can be extended to questions of interpersonal ethics. The idea here is that ethical problems generally arise in the event of conflict and that an ethics of conflict resolution must contain a conciliatory component. This brings me close to the ethics of forgiveness which is concerned with overcoming negative attitudes such as resentment, hate, or anger.