Herbert Morris Guilt Summary

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In the article Herbert Morris claims that the sense of guilt, which contributes much to our moral life, is gradually diminishing in both society and law. Opposing Freud 's belief that the heightening sense of guilt causes a loss in happiness, Morris claims that instead the erosion of guilt will cause consequences similar to the lost of happiness.

Morris begins supporting his claim by describing how the mere nature of guilt and the sense of guilt play a significant role in law and morality. In law, the role of guilt has always been restricted and verdicts of guilt are usually limited to proceedings that are criminal or criminal in character, Legal guilt requires conscious conduct that requires culpability with respect to wrongdoing. This means
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This in a sense shows how guilt attributes to our sense of morality. According to society, those guilty deserve some sort of negative attitude, condemnation, and have set themselves apart from the community because of their failure to commit to communal norms. When labeling a person guilty, we transform their status and “believe that we are entitled to take from the guilty something they owe”. They are subject to punishment which we believe provides compensation and constitutes the criminal paying back his debt. These attitudes and conditions applied to the guilty show our belief in an established order of things, belief that imbalance of the order is caused by the guilty, and belief that individuals can be together and apart determined by people 's willingness to comply to the norms and beliefs of the community. Punishing them makes us believe that the we have righted the wrong, corrected the imbalance in order, and reordered the relationship between the individual and society. If the sense of guilt erodes in society these conditions and attitudes will no longer apply to those that are guilty, hence wrongs will not be corrected and restoration

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