Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

Adrienne Martin

Rights Information

© 2016 Alexandra Renee Lundgren


This paper will introduce the theory of blame and demonstrate how it relates to self-blame. I will begin by first highlighting two competing definitions of blame. The first of these forms, upheld by two prominent philosophers, Thomas Scanlon and Linda Radzik, looks at blame as impairing relationships. Both philosophers study how wrongful actions cause impairments in relationships and argue that blame is utilized to the extent of that impairment. Reactive emotions, according to them, are simply a byproduct of blame and not of quintessential importance to the theory of blame. The second form of blame, presented by Susan Wolf and R. Jay Wallace, refutes the Impaired Relations Theory and, instead, studies the theory of blame in accordance with reactive emotions. These two philosophers contend that blame is the reactive attitudes one has, or should have, towards wrongful actions. These emotions are, therefore, required in order for an agent to be blamed. This paper will first thoroughly outline the differences between these two forms of blame. It will then introduce the notion of self-blame with respect to these four philosophers’ viewpoints and compare them to one another. It will ultimately conclude by revealing how the Reactive Attitudes Theory represents a more accurate account of self-blame.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.