Apologies: Your Best Guide on the Internet

Self-help book and works of popular psychology often instruct us in the art of apologising. Their advice is reflected, in turn, in much online discussion. Most commonly, we’re advised to give
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Self-help book and works of popular psychology often instruct us in the art of apologising. Their advice is reflected, in turn, in much online discussion. Most commonly, we’re advised to give elaborate, self-abasing apologies: apologies that go well beyond acknowledging misjudgement or admitting to wrongdoing. With variations, we are told to elaborate in detail just what we did wrong, describe why it was unacceptable, offer nothing in the way of justification or excuse (though sometimes we’re told we can give an explanation without justifying ourselves), and provide explicit assurances that we will never repeat the behaviour. In summary, we’re told to condemn, criticise and abase ourselves, and to ask humbly for forgiveness. This might be needed for some betrayals of love or friendship. But for most situations it is very bad advice. Serious wrongdoing In its most serious mode, the social practice of apologising relates to actions that are later regretted, leading to deep feelings of. . .

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News source: Talking Philosophy

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