When should we regret?

Paddy McQueen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, I develop and defend the ‘Justified Decision Perspective’ (JDP) in answer to the question of when we should regret the things we have done. I claim that one should not regret a past decision one has made so long as it was justified in relation to the kind of person one was at the time of acting. On 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. Accordingly, when responding to her regrets, an agent should not invoke (a) reasons that existed but were epistemically unavailable to her when she was deliberating; or (b) reasons that only came into existence after she acted. The JDP has important implications for prospective regret. In particular, it implies we should worry less about experiencing regret in the future than many of us do. Thus, my overall aim is to show that we often have reason to reject our regrets, which means that regret should play a less prominent and painful role in our lives than it does currently.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-623
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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