Shame vs. Guilt: Is there a difference?


In this article, I argue that guilt and shame are not distinctive emotions. Instead, guilt is best seen as a kind of shame. I present three reasons for this view: First, guilt cannot merely arise as a consequence of how we evaluate our behaviour, since how we act implicates the whole self. Second, guilt cannot be relieved by taking responsibility, apologising and making amends unless it is a kind of shame. Third, the empirical research that seems to show that ‘shame’ and ‘guilt’ are distinct can be explained by re-interpreting the data.



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Derek R. Brookes
Australian National University (PhD)

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References found in this work

Shame and Necessity.Bernard Williams - 1993 - Berkeley: University of California Press.
Shame and Necessity.Bernard Williams - 1993 - Apeiron 27 (1):45-76.
Shame and Necessity.Bernard Williams - 1993 - Philosophy 69 (270):507-509.
Pride Shame and Guilt.Gabriele Taylor - 1989 - Noûs 23 (2):253-254.

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