One mark of interpersonal relationships is a tendency to blame. But what precise evaluations and responses constitute blame? Is it most centrally a judgment, or is it an emotion, or something else? Does blame express a demand, or embody a protest, or does it simply mark an impaired relationship? What accounts for its force or sting, and how similar is it to punishment?
The essays in this volume explore answers to these (and other) questions about the nature of blame, but they also explore the various norms that govern the propriety of blame. The traditional question is whether anyone ever deserves to be blamed, but the essays here provide a fresh perspective by focusing on blame from the blamer's perspective instead.
We tend to suppose that the ancient Greeks had primitive ideas of the self, of responsibility, freedom, and shame, and that now humanity has advanced from these to a more refined moral consciousness. Bernard Williams's original and radical book questions this picture of Western history. While we are in many ways different from the Greeks, Williams claims that the differences are not to be traced to a shift in these basic conceptions of ethical life. We are more like the ancients than we are prepared to acknowledge, and only when this is understood can we properly grasp our most important differences from them, such as our rejection of slavery.
Early Confucian philosophers (notably Confucius and Mencius) emphasized moral significance of shame in self-cultivation and learning. In their discussion, shame is not just a painful sense of moral failure or transgression but also a moral disposition and a form of moral excellence (i.e., virtue) that is essential to Confucian self-cultivation.
In this book, Bongrae Seok argues that shame is a genuine moral emotion and moral disposition. Engaging with recent studies of social psychology, cultural psychology, biology, and anthropology, Seok explains that shame is a uniquely evolved form of moral emotion that is comparable to, but not identical with, guilt. The author goes on to develop an interpretation of Confucian shame that reveals the embodied, interactive, and transformative nature of the Confucian moral self.
The Neuroscience of Emotion presents a new framework for the neuroscientific study of emotion across species. Written by Ralph Adolphs and David J. Anderson, two leading authorities on the study of emotion, this accessible and original book recasts the discipline and demonstrates that in order to understand emotion, we need to examine its biological roots in humans and animals. Only through a comparative approach that encompasses work at the molecular, cellular, systems, and cognitive levels will we be able to comprehend what emotions do, how they evolved, how the brain shapes their development, and even how we might engineer them into robots in the future.
Showing that emotions are ubiquitous across species and implemented in specific brain circuits, Adolphs and Anderson offer a broad foundation for thinking about emotions as evolved, functionally defined biological states. The authors discuss the techniques and findings from modern neuroscientific investigations of emotion and conclude with a survey of theories and future research directions.
Christopher Shields and Robert Pasnau's The Philosophy of Aquinas introduces the Aquinas' overarching explanatory framework in order to provide the necessary background to his philosophical investigations across a wide range of areas: rational theology, metaphysics, philosophy of human nature, philosophy of mind, and ethical and political theory. Although not intended to provide a comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of Aquinas' far-reaching writings, the volume presents a systematic introduction to the principal areas of his philosophy and attends no less to Aquinas' methods and argumentative strategies than to his ultimate conclusions. The authors have updated the second edition in light of recent scholarship on Aquinas, while streamlining and refining their presentation of the key elements of Aquinas' philosophy.
In 1972, Peter Singer published "Famine, Affluence and Morality," which rapidly became one of the most widely discussed essays in applied ethics. Through this article, Singer presents his view that we have the same moral obligations to those far away as we do to those close to us. He argues that choosing not to send life saving money to starving people on the other side of the earth is the moral equivalent of neglecting to save drowning children because we prefer not to muddy our shoes. If we can help, we must-and any excuse is hypocrisy. Singer's extreme stand on the standard of giving has become a powerful topic of discussion in modern philosophy and continues to challenge people's attitudes towards extreme poverty.
What does it mean to devote yourself wholly to helping others? In Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar seeks out people living lives of extreme ethical commitment, and tells their intimate stories: their stubborn integrity and their compromises; their bravery and their recklessness; their wrenching dilemmas.
This book gives not only vivid stories of people with moral extremity, but also philosophical and psychological reflections upon those stories. One of the most pressing questions it raises is: is a morally good person always a good social partner? Where do morality and sociality joint and where do they diverge? Perhaps psychopaths and do-gooders are the two ends of morality where it clearly diverges from sociality.