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Philosophy Talk asks about the logic and limits of Regret

If you regret something, do you have to regret all of its consequences? If you affirm something, do you have to affirm all of the events that led to it, including the regrettable ones?


A teenager decides, on a whim, to conceive a child. Even though we might say that this decision was irrational, she cannot regret it later, because raising the child eventually becomes the most important part of her life. Cases like this show how complicated regret is: that an action was irrational or wrong doesn’t necessarily imply that we should regret it. When, then, should we regret? For that matter, why should we regret anything at all? Doesn’t the feeling of regret just add more pain to circumstances that are already unfortunate? How can it possibly be rational to affirm actions that one knows were wrong? John and Ken don't regret agreeing to talk to Jay Wallace from UC Berkeley, author of The View From Here: On Affirmation, Attachment, and the Limits of Regret. Sunday 10/18 at 10 am and Tuesday 10/20 at 12 noon.