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Title: 'Thank God I Failed'
Subtitle: How Much Does a Failed Murder Attempt Transform the Agent?
Author(s): COWLEY, Christopher
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 22    Issue: 4   Date: 2015   
Pages: 523-545
DOI: 10.2143/EP.22.4.3127266

Abstract :
Peter Winch writes: 'One who fails in his attempt to commit a murder and who undergoes a change of heart might subsequently come to thank God that he failed. It is pertinent for us to ask what precisely he has to thank God for' (1971, 144). The first answer to this question is that the thwarted attempter is relieved not to have become a murderer. In exploring the nature of this becoming, I consider and reject a ‘subjectivist’ account, according to which the attempter has already ‘become’ a murderer in virtue of his or her sincerely murderous intentions and plans. And yet clearly the attempter has lost something of the innocence that would make murder morally unthinkable. He or she thereby inhabits a curious kind of metaphysical limbo between innocence and guilt, between transformation and self-discovery, between ignorance and knowledge.

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