Levinasian thoughts on witnessing: Forgiveness, guilt, and reconciliation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Truth and Reconciliation Commissions that operated in South Africa in the mid-1990s represented an exceptional political effort to overcome the countrys intricate blood-stained history using a mechanism based on foundations of forgiveness in a Christian sense, public trial in a symbolic sense, and commissions of inquiry in a political and legal sense. These commissions constituted one of the most daring and impressive attempts in the history of world politics to transform the national social agenda and to facilitate a shared life for the different groups in South Africa. This article engages in a philosophical discussion of a few major aspects of these commissions via the prism of Levinasian philosophical thought and the philosophical and ethical meaning it assigns to the act of bearing witness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-358
Number of pages14
JournalSouth African Journal of Philosophy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


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