«Inciting to good and murmuring at evil». The Medieval Concept of ‘Synderesis’ and the Restorative Process

Di Giovanni Grandi

In: Philosophical Insights for a Theory of Restorative Justice XLVIII , No. 2 ( 2019 )

Sezione Saggi / Articles


Restorative Justice touches on several moral topics: these include the capability to recognise ‘evil’ and ‘good’, the connection between evil and suffering and the link between moral judgement and feelings; the problem of the foundation of moral judgement, that is the question whether it involves an intuition or a demonstration. The paper suggests that some classical moral concepts and figures could work as the philosophical background for RJ. Particularly, it tries to show that the medieval notion of synderesis could represent the anthropological key that provides a theoretical framework of what occurs ‘within’ the offender due to the encounter with the victim. As a result, the paper finally suggests that the restorative approach to wrongdoing seems more coherent with the classical anthropological and moral thought than the punitive approach, which seems to neglect exactly the resources of synderesis and the power of affective insights about good and evil.