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Scham und Schuld

Zur Phänomenologie selbstbezüglicher Gefühle

Zurück zum Heft: Phänomenologische Forschungen 2009
DOI: https://doi.org/10.28937/1000107962
EUR 14,90

This essay tries to elaborate an accurate description of shame and guilt from the agent’s point of view by focusing on typical cases of such experiences. In a first step, we approach the peculiarity of a phenomenological investigation by introducing three methodical directions. All of them are formulated in a negative mode, i.e., in terms of prohibition, namely: the instruction not to adhere to a naïve notion of phenomenon, not to project reflective attitudes into the prereflectively given, and not to go beyond the relevant situation of experience. Following these methodological considerations, we discuss the familiar characteristics of shame and guilt. According to a wide-spread view, we are faced with self-related feelings that are, more or less overwhelmingly, encountered as troublesome. These feelings either, in case of guilt, trigger special types of social interaction (avowal and reparation) or, in case of shame, entail isolation, an intensified self-perception and introspective embarrassment. Whether and to what extent this current picture can be sustained, will be discussed on phenomenological grounds. We take it that the social features of shame and guilt result from their inherent self-relatedness. Thereto, we try to answer, among others, the following questions: Do feelings of shame and guilt, apart from their social functions, represent characteristic modes of self-awareness? How are they correlated with specific modes of time-consciousness? Can a phenomenological description contribute to our understanding of the moral impact of shame and guilt?