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On God and Guilt: A Reply to Aaron Ridley

On God and Guilt: A Reply to Aaron Ridley On God and Guilt: A Reply to Aaron Ridley 1. Let me begin by distinguishing two conceptions of guilt. The first conceives of guilt as an experience of reprehensible failure in response to specific actions. I feel guilty if I break a promise for reasons that cannot justify this transgression. This conception of guilt as a responsive attitude, which I call locallyreactive guilt, captures a tension in one's agency that arises from a local failure. The second conception understands guilt as a condition that shapes one's whole existence. Guilt, on this view, is a persistent feeling of imperfection. Such guilt, existential guilt, presupposes a reference point vis-à-vis which one's life is so experienced. This reference is most plausibly a shared understanding of moral perfection within a community that is so demanding as to make it hard or impossible to live up to its standards. While the adoption of the Christian God offers one explanation for the emergence of such a shared understanding, other explanations of existential guilt are possible (see section 5 below). Existential guilt manifests itself especially in locally-reactive guilt, but there can be locallyreactive guilt without existential guilt. I submit that Nietzsche is not particularly interested http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Nietzsche Studies Penn State University Press

On God and Guilt: A Reply to Aaron Ridley

The Journal of Nietzsche Studies , Volume 29 (1) – Sep 5, 2005

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by The Friedrich Nietzsche Society.
ISSN
1538-4594
Publisher site
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Abstract

On God and Guilt: A Reply to Aaron Ridley 1. Let me begin by distinguishing two conceptions of guilt. The first conceives of guilt as an experience of reprehensible failure in response to specific actions. I feel guilty if I break a promise for reasons that cannot justify this transgression. This conception of guilt as a responsive attitude, which I call locallyreactive guilt, captures a tension in one's agency that arises from a local failure. The second conception understands guilt as a condition that shapes one's whole existence. Guilt, on this view, is a persistent feeling of imperfection. Such guilt, existential guilt, presupposes a reference point vis-à-vis which one's life is so experienced. This reference is most plausibly a shared understanding of moral perfection within a community that is so demanding as to make it hard or impossible to live up to its standards. While the adoption of the Christian God offers one explanation for the emergence of such a shared understanding, other explanations of existential guilt are possible (see section 5 below). Existential guilt manifests itself especially in locally-reactive guilt, but there can be locallyreactive guilt without existential guilt. I submit that Nietzsche is not particularly interested

Journal

The Journal of Nietzsche StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Sep 5, 2005

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