The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 587–602 | Cite as

Self-Blaming, Repentance, and Atonement

  • Peter A. French

Self-blaming expressions are common. For example, “I blame myself for missing the deadline;” “I’m the only one to blame for my alcoholism;” “I can’t stop blaming myself for what he did to me;” “Bless me Father, for I have sinned;” “My bad, I’ll pay for it;” “I’m so ashamed of having done that;” and, “Damn me, I’ve done it again!”

Self-blame occupies a sizable chunk of what is published in academic psychology, but there is not that much on the topic in philosophy. My intent is to offer some thoughts and explorations about self-blaming in the context of a wider view of negative responsibility ascriptions that are not uttered at the time of the untoward action, and to use a distinction drawn in a piece from the psychological literature to suggest a link between a certain kind of self-blame, repentance, and acts of atonement.


Self-blaming is a form of holding oneself responsible, a way of expressing a negative self-reactive attitude subsequent to the performance of an...


Psychological State Rape Victim Illocutionary Force Responsibility Ascription Synchronic Responsibility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations