A symposium on The View from Here: On Affirmation, Attachment, and the Limits of Regret (OUP, 2013) by R. Jay Wallace | Valencia (Spain), June 2-3, 2014

Must we always later regret actions that were wrong for us to perform at the time? Can there ever be good reason to affirm things in the past that we know were unfortunate? In this original work of moral philosophy, R. Jay Wallace shows that the standpoint from which we look back on our lives is shaped by our present attachments-to persons, to the projects that imbue our lives with meaning, and to life itself. Through a distinctive “affirmation dynamic”, these attachments commit us to affirming the necessary conditions of their objects. The result is that we are sometimes unable to regret events and circumstances that were originally unjustified or otherwise somehow objectionable.

Wallace traces these themes through a range of examples. A teenage girl makes an ill-advised decision to conceive a child – but her love for the child once it has been born makes it impossible for her to regret that earlier decision. The painter Paul Gauguin abandons his family to pursue his true artistic calling (and eventual life project) in Tahiti–which means he cannot truly regret his abdication of familial responsibility. The View from Here offers new interpretations of these classic cases, challenging their treatment by Bernard Williams and others. Another example is the “bourgeois predicament”: we are committed to affirming the regrettable social inequalities that make possible the expensive activities that give our lives meaning. Generalizing from such situations, Wallace defends the view that our attachments inevitably commit us to affirming historical conditions that we cannot regard as worthy of being affirmed–a modest form of nihilism.



R. Jay Wallace (University of California, Berkeley)


Carla Bagnoli (Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia)
Bernard Reginster (Brown University)
Sergi Rosell (University of Valencia)
Katrien Schaubroeck (University of Antwerp)


Christopher Bennett (University of Sheffield)
Claudia Compte (University of Valencia)
Josep E. Corbí (University of Valencia)
Esa Diaz Leon (University of Manitoba)
Antonio Gaitán (University Carlos III;,Madrid)
Laura García Portela (University of Valencia)
Antoni Gomila (University of the Balearic Islands)
Jules Holroyd (University of Nottingham)
Carlos Moya (University of Valencia)
Carlos Patarroyo (Rosario University, Bogotá)
Mari Mikkola (Humboldt University, Berlin)
Winnie Sung (University College London & U. of New South Wales)
Vera Tripodi (University of Turin)
Jordi Valor (University of Valencia)

Col·legi Rector Peset
Plaza Horno de San Nicolás 4
See the green mark on this map


Claudia Compte (University of Valencia)
Josep E. Corbí (University of Valencia)
Mari Mikkola (Humboldt-University, Berlin)
Jesús Vega (Autonomous University of Madrid)


Josep E. Corbí  (josep.corbi # uv.es)


Philosophy of Perspectival Thoughts and Facts (Consolider-Ingenio CSD2009-00056)
The Nature of Assertion: Consequences for Relativism and Fictionalism (FFI2010-16049)
The Scope and Limits of Responsibility (FF1 2012-33470)