Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1469696
 


 



Shame Creeps Through Guilt and Feels Like Retribution


Jeffrie G. Murphy


Arizona State University College of Law

1999

Law & Phil., Vol. 18, p. 327, 1999

Abstract:     
The stories of William Trevor often contain, near the end, a single sentence that captures – in one crystalline moment – a core insight toward which the story has been building all along. Near the end of his recent novel Death in Summer, the following sentence occurs:
“Her compassion faltered: shame creeps through guilt and feels like retribution.” I believe that my ability to understand the profundity of this sentence, and thus the story in which it occurs, was aided enormously by my reading of the essays of Herbert Morris. And thus, in my essay, I will reflect on the themes present in this sentence and thereby follow, in my own limited way, a path familiar to all those who have read Morris: drawing philosophical inspiration from literature, trying to be open to the moral and spiritual insights latent in dark and mysterious stories and sayings, reflecting on the inter- twined emotions of guilt and shame, and seeing – in all of this – implications for punishment and forgiveness, both of self and of others. In Morris’s own work, of course, these perspectives are all employed with great human sensitivity – employed by a person
whose compassion never seems to falter.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 18

Keywords: Punishment, guilt, forgiveness

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Date posted: September 9, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Jeffrie G., Shame Creeps Through Guilt and Feels Like Retribution (1999). Law & Phil., Vol. 18, p. 327, 1999. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1469696

Contact Information

Jeffrie G. Murphy (Contact Author)
Arizona State University College of Law ( email )
Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
(480) 965-5856 (Phone)
(480) 965-2427 (Fax)
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