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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Rectification and apology are related. A clarification of rectificatory justice requires a conception of apology that is grounded in justice. An apology is needed in order to effect rectification because it is the apology that addresses the wrong of an injustice. What makes an injustice a wrong is the lack of respect shown to right-holders when their rights are violated. Hence, the righting of a wrong is accomplished by way of an apology—an acknowledgment of wrongdoing that includes the reaffirmation that those who suffered the injustice have moral standing. Emotional requirements are unnecessary for a conception of apology and the assumption of reconciliation as the telos of apology is mistaken. In these terms, the apology to African Americans by the US Congress in 2009 fails as a legitimate apology.

Keywords: African Americans, injustice, rectification, apology by government, US Congress apology

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