`There is much that is fascinating here. Long-established experiments and conclusions are rubbished and reinterpreted, long-established assumptions and beliefs about emotions are soundly trounced, and generally a good going-over is delivered to the whole field... it is such a blockbuster that one can only reel backwards and tell anyone studying the subject that they would be crazy not to get it' - Self & Society This fascinating book overviews the psychology of the emotions in its broadest sense, tracing historical, social, cultural and biological themes and analyses. The contributors - some of the leading figures in the field - produce a new theoretical synthesis by drawing together these strands.
Chapter 3: Guilt and Remorse
Guilt and Remorse
Guilt, unlike shame, is a legal concept. A person is guilty if he breaks a law, which may be of human or divine origin. As a consequence of this action he has put himself into a position where he is liable to punishment, or where, given repentance, he may be forgiven. He will be guilty under these circumstances whether the law is good or bad, pronounced by God or the dictator, backed by good reasons or otherwise. Given only that he is under the legislation of the authority in question, violation of the law is sufficient for guilt.
He may of course be guilty and not feel guilty, for he may think the law in question bad and oppressive, or he ...