Tragic-remorse–the anguish of dirty hands

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (5):453-471 (2005)


This paper outlines and defends a notion of tragic-remorse. This moral emotion properly accompanies those actions that involve unavoidable moral wrongdoing in general and dirty hands scenarios in particular. Tragic-remorse differs both phenomenologically and conceptually from regret, agent-regret and remorse. By recognising the existence of tragic-remorse, we are better able to account for our complex moral reality which at times makes it necessary for good persons to act in ways that although justified leave the agent with a moral stain and a particular emotional response.

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Stephen De Wijze
University of Manchester

References found in this work

Problems of the Self.Bernard A. O. Williams - 1973 - Cambridge University Press.
.Jonathan Haidt - 2009 - Oxford University Press.

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