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Historical redress

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-S104-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2006
Retrieved May 18, 2024, from

Article Summary

Historical redress comprises restitution (the return of unjustly appropriated items), compensation (transfers of resources made in acknowledgment of unjust appropriations), and apologies or memorial events; all with respect to injustices the victims of which are now deceased, or at least with respect to practices that have ceased for some considerable time, and are ‘historical’ in one of these senses. Important cases include redress for slavery and for aboriginal policies, for wartime atrocities or other injustices, and demands for the return of culturally important artefacts. The topic is controversial because the basis of present responsibility for past harms is disputed, because the very possibility of redress is sometimes questioned, and because the issue of priority between past and present injustices is unsettled. Advocates of redress propose that grievances from the past retain their moral force, while sceptics maintain that they lose force with the passage of time, or, at least, that present injustices take priority over them.

Citing this article:
Vernon, Richard. Historical redress, 2006, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-S104-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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