Ratio 24 (1):17-27 (2011)

A common belief about the nature of agent regret is that regretting some event E is closely linked to being sorry for the occurrence of E. Or more specifically, that if one is sorry for E then she must regret E. I will call this ‘the sorry-regret hypothesis’. My contention is that one may be sorry for some action but not regret it. I take the rejection of this ‘truism’ to be a positive development. I offer two lines of argument for rejecting the sorry-regret hypothesis. One line of argument is based on counterexamples. The second attacks the validity of a reconstructed argument for the sorry-regret hypothesis. It is desirable to reject the sorry-regret hypothesis since there is a component of regret that many will not wish to be saddled with as a condition of apologizing. To regret an act, one must wish that she had not performed that act. Since a person is the person she is (speaking loosely) because of the actions she has performed, for many actions, if one regrets an action, then she wishes that she were a different person. This is a worrisome consequence
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2010.00480.x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,078
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Risk, Calamity and Apology.Marko Ahteensuu - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (2):449-463.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Value in the Guise of Regret.Carla Bagnoli - 2000 - Philosophical Explorations 3 (2):169 – 187.
Regret and the Control of Temporary Preferences.Terry Connolly & Jochen Reb - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (5):653-654.
Regret Aversion in Reason-Based Choice.Terry Connolly & Jochen Reb - 2012 - Theory and Decision 73 (1):35-51.
Emotional Expressions of Moral Value.Julie Tannenbaum - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):43 - 57.
Who's to Regret, What's to Regret?Andrew Fenton & Timothy Krahn - 2008 - American Journal of Bioethics 8 (2):42 – 43.
The Role of Regret in Informed Consent.Miles Little - 2008 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 6 (1):49-59.
Tragic-Remorse–the Anguish of Dirty Hands.Stephen De Wijze - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (5):453-471.
Tragic-Remorse — the Anguish of Dirty Hands.Stephen De Wijze - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (5):453 - 471.


Added to PP index

Total views
70 ( #162,485 of 2,498,798 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #421,542 of 2,498,798 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes