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When Should we Regret? / Paddy McQueen

International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Volume: 25, Issue: 5, Pages: 608 - 623

Swansea University Author: McQueen, Paddy

Abstract

In this paper, I develop and defend the ‘Justified Decision Perspective’ (JDP) as a response to the issue of when we should regret the things that we have done. I argue that one should not regret a past decision that one made if it was justified at the time of acting. By “justified” I mean that the...

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Published in: International Journal of Philosophical Studies
ISSN: 0967-2559 1466-4542
Published: 2017
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa48280
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Abstract: In this paper, I develop and defend the ‘Justified Decision Perspective’ (JDP) as a response to the issue of when we should regret the things that we have done. I argue that one should not regret a past decision that one made if it was justified at the time of acting. By “justified” I mean that the decision was an appropriate one an agent to make, given who they were and what they could reasonably know at the time of acting. According to this time-indexing account, judging a decision to be justified – at least for the purposes of assessing one’s regrets – is a matter of identifying the practical reasons that were epistemically available to the agent when she was deliberating about what to do. Therefore, when assessing her regrets, an agent should not invoke (a) reasons that existed but were not epistemically available to her when she was deliberating about what to do; or (b) reasons that only came into existence after she acted. The JDP has important implications for prospective regret. It implies that we should worry much less about experiencing regret in the future than many of us do.
Keywords: Identity over time; Justified decision-making; Personal identity; Practical reasons; Regret
College: College of Arts and Humanities
Issue: 5
Start Page: 608
End Page: 623