Love, guilt, and the sense of justice

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):391 – 416 (1982)
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Abstract

Theories about man's moral sensibilities, particularly his sense of justice, tend to reflect either optimism or pessimism about human nature. Among modern theorists Hobbes, Hume, and Freud are perhaps the most outstanding representatives of pessimism. Recently, optimistic theories, which view the sense of justice as linked essentially to the sentiments of love and friendship, have found favor with philosophers. Of these theories John Rawls's is the most notable. Section I considers the conceptual scheme optimists advance to establish this view of the sense of justice and argues that it has serious problems. Section II examines Rawls's account of moral development, which is an especially well worked out account on the optimistic side, and argues that, because it relies on the conceptual scheme discussed in Section I, it too is seriously problematic. Finally, Section III suggests that behind these problems lie reasons favoring a pessimistic view like Hume's or Freud's

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John Deigh
University of Texas at Austin

Citations of this work

Holding Responsible and Taking Responsibility.Stephen Bero - 2020 - Law and Philosophy 39 (3):263-296.
On Moral Understanding.David Levy - 2004 - Dissertation, University of London

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References found in this work

The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn.Jonathan Bennett - 1974 - Philosophy 49 (188):123-134.
The Sense of Justice.John Rawls - 1963 - Philosophical Review 72 (3):281-305.
Freud's Theory of Moral Conscience.David H. Jones - 1966 - Philosophy 41 (155):34 - 57.
Moral Weakness and Remorse.Robert Rosthal - 1967 - Mind 76 (304):576-579.

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