Animals Who Think and Love: Law, Identification and the Moral Psychology of Guilt

Criminal Law and Philosophy 13 (3):515-544 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


How does the human animal who thinks and loves relate to criminal justice? This essay takes up the idea of a moral psychology of guilt promoted by Bernard Williams and Herbert Morris. Against modern liberal society’s ‘peculiar’ legal morality of voluntary responsibility, it pursues Morris’s ethical account of guilt as involving atonement and identification with others. Thinking of guilt in line with Morris, and linking it with the idea of moral psychology, takes the essay to Freud’s metapsychology in Civilization and Its Discontents. Two conflicting routes to guilt are noted in Freud, one involving internalisation of external anger to suppress destructive instincts, the other loving identification with others in the process of self-formation. This second route is developed through the psychoanalytic thought of Hans Loewald and Jonathan Lear. Following Loewald, the moral psychology of self-formation makes loving identification with others the root of responsibility, guilt and atonement. Following Lear, the moral psychology of guilt developed on these lines renders psychoanalysis part of a broadly understood philosophical project following Aristotelian and Socratic principles. Underlying Morris’s account of guilt is the possibility of ‘prospective identification’, understood as the moral and psychological ground of guilt and reconciliation. This is the rational core of criminal justice, which maintains an uneasy relationship with law’s ‘peculiar’ morality.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,419

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Shame, Guilt and Morality.Fabrice Teroni & Otto Bruun - 2011 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (2):223-245.
Guilt and Helping.Christian Miller - 2008 - Ethics 6 (2/3):231-252.
Guilt and Child Soldiers.Krista K. Thomason - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):115-127.
Love and justice : can we flourish without addressing the past?Alan Norrie - 2018 - Journal of Critical Realism 17 (1):17-33.
Love and justice: can we flourish without addressing the past?Alan Norrie - 2018 - Journal of Critical Realism 17 (1):17-33.
Collective guilt and collective guilt feelings.Margaret Gilbert - 2002 - The Journal of Ethics 6 (2):115-143.
Guilt-free morality.Gilbert Harman - 2009 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:203-14.
Morality and Privilege.Reginald Williams - 2008 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 5 (1):118-135.
Guilt by association?Michael Deem & Grant Ramsey - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):570-585.


Added to PP

25 (#465,975)

6 months
1 (#452,962)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?