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Guilt, Remorse and Victims

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In Shame and Necessity, Bernard Williams describes the experience of guilt in terms of fear at the anger of an internalised other, who is a “victim or enforcer.” Williams says it is a merit of his account that it shows how our guilt turns us towards the victims of our wrongdoing. I argue that his account in fact misses the most important form of guilt's “concern with victims”– the experience of remorse. I consider, and reject, one way of trying to supplement this lack in Williams's account of guilt. Finally, I sketch some features of remorse that suggest that remorse belongs to a very different moral picture from the one painted by Williams.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2007

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