General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Is guilt an emotion?

Asked by elbanditoroso (28832points) June 10th, 2015

Why or why not?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

15 Answers

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

I feel like it is more of a backpack that is really hard to take off.

But based on the physiology of it, probably yes.

cookieman's avatar

Sure, and if you’re Italian it’s THE emotion.

cazzie's avatar

Guilt is a very basic emotion. Even dogs have it.

ibstubro's avatar

Morally, without a doubt, guilt is an emotion.

Legally, guilt is the opposite of innocent. Either sure to elicit an emotional response.

gailcalled's avatar

Guilt is the opposite of innocence. Guilty is the opposite of innocent.

LostInParadise's avatar

We are all experts on emotions, right? But how do you define an emotion? I did a Web search and found this site defining emotions as having three components: subjective, physiological and behavioral. Guilt would seem to fit. The site had a link to another page listing the basic emotions as happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, and disgust. I think it is probably true that any animal that can feel one of these can feel the others. A newborn infant can feel all of them. I don’t think that dogs feel guilt. They are just really expert at being able to read us. If guilt is an emotion it is of a higher order, requiring the concept of responsibility.

josie's avatar

No. Guilt is a form anxiety, which is a neurosis. If it can be traced to a true emotion, the emotion would be fear.

flutherother's avatar

I think it is an emotion. It is something we feel.

cazzie's avatar

@josie if feeling guilty is a form of anxiety or ‘neurosis’ is shame as well?

(neurosis is defined as a mild form of mental illness, so what you are saying is feelings of guilt and shame may be abnormal signs, which, when missing in an individual are actually signs of a more severe form of mental illness, so I think you might be on the wrong track there.)

josie's avatar

Yes. Because both are contextual.

cazzie's avatar

@josie what would you describe as a ‘noncontextual’ emotion?

josie's avatar

If I answer your question, it will imply that guilt is an emotion. And I already gave my opinion that it is not.

cazzie's avatar

@josie I’m trying to get some logic from your answers and I’m not really getting it.

cazzie's avatar

Also, resentment can be mistaken for simple guilt, but I think resentment is the ‘contextual’ result of the feeling of guilt. Shame and guilt can be components of mental disorders when healthy responses aren’t developed. Their absence is shown to also be components of mental disorders.

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