Het domein Van gepast schuldgevoel: Tussen uitbreiding en inperking

Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 58 (4):697-715 (1996)
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Abstract

According to the traditional conception of morality one's feeling of guilt is appropriate if and only if one has culpably done wrong. The feeling must involve this propositional content. In recent literature, however, two opposite developments can be discerned. First there is a tendency to expand the range of things one can appropriately feel guilty about. So, for example, it is argued that there is nothing wrong in feeling guilt about actions done involuntarily, or done by others, or about thoughts which just happen to the subject of the feeling . This position is criticized on the ground that guilt is a painful emotion and should therefore be suffered only if it is deserved. On the other hand, there are also arguments in the literature to the effect that agent regret should be substituted for guilt , and that the range of appropriate guilt feelings should be limited . The main objection to Williams's proposal is that it would mean an impoverishment of the moral world: guilt feeling implies, as agent regret does not, the recognition that one could and should have acted otherwise. As to Gibbard's position, it is demonstrated that it is based on a disputable metaethics. In addition to that, it is argued that Gibbard's view of guilt feeling as an adaptive syndrome is untenable

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Artemis Den
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

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