David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:203-14 (2009)
Here are some of the ways in which some philosophers and psychologists have taken the emotion of guilt to be essential to morality. One relatively central idea is that guilt feelings are warranted if an agent knows that he or she has acted morally wrongly. It might be said that in such a case the agent has a strong reason to feel guilt, that the agent ought to have guilt feelings, that the agent is justified in having guilt feelings and unjustified in not having guilt feelings. It might be said that it would be immoral of an agent not to have feelings of guilt after realizing that he or she has acted morally wrongly or that only an agent with bad character would not have such feelings.
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