The Structure of <i>Paenitentia</i> and the Egoism of Regret

Robert A. Kaster

in Emotion, Restraint, and Community in Ancient Rome

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195140781
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199789283 | DOI:
The Structure of Paenitentia and the Egoism of Regret

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This chapter investigates the various scripts of paenitentia, the Latin term that most closely approximates English “regret”. It shows how different forms of regret are experienced at actions or states of affairs for which one is responsible oneself or for which others are responsible, involving matters of practical utility or personal honor. It considers the relation between “regret” and “shame”, on the one hand, and between “regret” and “remorse” on the other. The pre-Christian Romans, it turns out, did not commonly think or speak in terms of “remorse” as a distinct emotion.

Keywords: shame; remorse; emotion; emotion scripts; ethics

Chapter.  8971 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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