Taking Responsibility for the PastReparation and Historical Injustice
Taking Responsibility for the Past
Reparation and Historical Injustice
Injustices of the past cast a shadow on the present. They are the root cause of much harm, the source of enmity, and increasingly in recent times, the focus of demands for reparation. In this groundbreaking philosophical investigation, Janna Thompson examines the problems raised by reparative demands and puts forward a theory of reparation for historical injustices.

The book argues that the problems posed by historical injustices are best resolved by a reconciliatory view of reparative justice and an approach that explains how people acquire intergenerational responsibilities and entitlements. It ranges in its subject matter from the claims of indigenous people to land stolen from their ancestors to the growing movement for reparations for slavery. The book provides an original and convincing answer to the questions of how citizens can have reparative responsibilities for wrongs committed before they were born, and why descendants of victims may be entitled to compensation for historical injustices such as slavery. It also explains how members of nations can make recompense for injustices of the past without ignoring the inequities of the present.Taking Responsibility for the Past is a significant contribution to philosophical and legal debates about reparative justice, and at the same time an accessible and thought-provoking book for general readers.
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  • December 2002
  • 200 pages
  • 153 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Paperback $29.95
  • 9780745628851
Table of Contents

Introduction: History and Responsibility.

Chapter 1: Treaties and Transgenerational Responsibilities.

Chapter 2: Historical Injustice and Respect for Nations.

Chapter 3: Theories of Reparation.

Chapter 4: Land Rights and Reparation.

Chapter 5: A Matter of time.

Chapter 6: All things considered.

Chapter 7: The Rights of descendants.

Chapter 8: Inheritance, Equity and Reparation.

Chapter 9: Reparation and Injustices to Family Lines.

Conclusion: Justice and Transgenerational Relationships.




About the Author
Janna Thompson is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at La Trobe University, Australia, and a Fellow of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.
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"Janna Thompson provides a sophisticated and parsimonious theory of reparative justice" Andrew Schapp, University of Melbourne

"Her treatment of reparative justice is superb in all respects. The writing is lucid and elegant, the reliance on relevant scholarship is balanced and informative, the argument is coherent and sustained from start to finish. In short, Janna Thompson has written a truly indispensable book that cannot be ignored by anyone interested in the broad theme of justice in human affairs." Richard Falk, Visiting Distinguished Professor,University of California at Santa Barbara

"In this challenging and compelling book, Janna Thompson seeks to tread a careful path between the conflicting claims for reparation and to defend a theory of restorative justice. I found it a thorough, stimulating and well-argued defence of an important theory in applied ethics and political theory. It is scholarly and accessible and should attract much attention." Paul Kelly, Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science

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