The Social Emotion

Julien A. Deonna, Raffaele Rodogno and Fabrice Teroni

in In Defense of Shame

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199793532
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199928569 | DOI:
The Social Emotion

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The aim of this chapter is to understand why shame is claimed to be essentially social. This claim initially pertains to the context dimension of shame: shame requires the presence of an audience. We argue that this cannot be taken as a brute fact and that the audience requirement must be explained in terms of the evaluation dimension of shame. We then present three distinct explanations along these lines: (i) shame's evaluation is heteronomous, (ii) it has to do with the way one appears in the eyes of others, and (iii) it is one that the subject makes from the perspective of another. Finally, we consider how these claims impinge on the moral status of shame and explain why, if shame always betrays our submissive nature or our concern for how we appear in the eyes of others, the seemingly unavoidable conclusion is that it is at best morally irrelevant. This conclusion is challenged in 5.

Keywords: morality; audience; heteronomy; appearance

Chapter.  6935 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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