The Purity of Agent-Regret

Philosophy 97 (1):71-90 (2022)
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I argue for a novel understanding of the nature of agent-regret. On the standard picture, agent-regret involves regretting the result of one’s action and thus regretting one’s action. I argue that the standard picture is a flawed analysis of agent-regret. I offer several cases of agent-regret where the agent feels agent-regret but does not regret the result itself. I appeal to other cases where an agent’s attitude towards something depends upon whether or not they are involved in that thing. I argue that the same applies to actions: sometimes an agent’s attitude towards a result differs from their attitude to their involvement in bringing about that result. Agent-regret is regret about my own action, but it need not involve regret about something in the world. I end by considering how this picture of agent-regret allows us to respond to a particular criticism of agent-regret.
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Archival date: 2021-07-20
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