A Sentimentalist's Defense of Contempt, Shame, and Disdain

Kate Abramson

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199235018
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 A Sentimentalist's Defense of Contempt, Shame, and Disdain

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Philosophers have recently appropriated the anthropologist's distinction between so-called “guilt-centered” and “shame-centered” moral practices to tell a dubious tale about some of the affective attitudes that play a crucial role in our moral assessments, and about the place that these attitudes held in early modern moral theories. The historical part of this story runs as follows. Certain emotional attitudes—disdain, shame, and contempt—are said to have a natural home in the kind of virtue and spectator-centered moral theories proffered by Hume and his sentimentalist contemporaries. In contrast, we are told, guilt, resentment, and indignation have a natural home in act and agent-centered theories like those of Kant and his descendants.

Keywords: moral practices; affective attitudes; moral assessments; moral theories; emotional attitudes; moral theories

Article.  12348 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind

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