Guilt, we are told by Hegel, belongs intrinsically
to action; and it is manifestly through action that such
declarative terms as "criminality" and "heinous sin" become
attached semantically to the word guilt. The Oxford
English Dictionary associates with the word guilt those
explicit, conceptual terms which enable one to see at once
the intimate connection between guilt on the one hand and
justice and the rule of law on the other. Terms such as
"heinous moral offence ", "responsibility for an action ",
and "great culpability" cannot easily be mistaken for
purely abstract or subjective sentiments; clearly, what is
indicated here is not private opinion but public judgement.
In like manner the terms "delinquent ", "criminal'', and
"deserving of punishment" attach to the word guilty.