The Many Flavours of Regret

Price, Carolyn (2020). The Many Flavours of Regret. The Monist, 103(2) pp. 147–162.



Daniel Jacobson (2013) has argued that regret is a single sentiment, defined by a particular intentional content and a particular set of motivational effects. Its function, he claims, is to motivate remedial action if possible, but at any rate, to prompt policy change; he concludes that regret is concerned specifically with mistakes. In this discussion, I present an alternative account. Extending a suggestion made by Daniel Kahneman (1995, 1998), I argue that regret is not a single sentiment, but comes in a range of emotional flavours, distinguished by their phenomenology and by their cognitive and motivational effects. As a result, different flavours of regret have different fittingness conditions and contribute to our lives in different ways.

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