Moral Guilt, Dirty Hands Dilemmas, and the Dark Ghetto




moral guilt, dirty hands dilemmas, dark ghetto, non-ideal


The non-ideal conditions of the dark ghetto can force residents into dirty hands dilemmas: dilemmas in which a moral agent must weigh between two courses of action that are both wrong but not equally wrong. For instance, one might have to decide between stealing and survival. The moral remainder of having done such acts invokes feelings of guilt, shame, or regret within the moral agent who has committed the infraction, even if it was the right thing to do all things considered. Philosophers such as John Rawls, Tommie Shelby, Allan Gibbard, Bernard Williams, and Patricia Greenspan have analyzed theories of justice, political philosophy, morality, moral emotions, and moral dilemmas. However, it has not yet been researched how moral remainder, specifically moral guilt, from dirty hands dilemmas are experienced by residents of the dark ghetto. Given that deontology, or duty ethics, is an ethical system that validates dirty hands dilemmas as genuine cases, a deontological approach is used to argue that guilt is appropriate for agents who emerge from dirty hands dilemmas having done things that are usually considered wrong.



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