P. S. Greenspan, "Guilt and Virtue," Journal of Philosophy, 91 (1994), 57-70


Feelings of guilt have a role to play in moral philosophy as a link between the ethics of virtue and duty. They allow for a notion of imperfect virtue as something still achievable despite serious moral lapses in the past. They also would seem to be required by perfect virtue in response to a moral dilemma. The defense of guilt in a case of dilemma has implications for virtue ethics insofar as it yields a distinction between an agent's character and his record of moral action--and an asymmetrical justificatory treatment of guilt versus other-directed variants of emotional blame.

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