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On shame

Leonidou, P; (2007) On shame. Masters thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Shame is widely regarded as an emotion of self-assessment that is, an emotion intimately related to the sense of who one is. Consequently, shame is often thought to occupy one of the most central places in our moral psychologies. On the one hand, shame powerfully features in interpersonal and social interaction, being bound with what is has been termed the 'social' self. On the other hand, shame regulates our intrapsychic well-being, crucially bound with what is has been termed the 'intimate' or 'inner' self. These psychological features generate a rough conceptual divide. An aspect of this divide may be taken to turn on the philosophical question of whether the thought and judgement of the other necessarily feature in explanations of shame. Answers that clearly fall on one or other side of this divide allow shame to be characterised in one of two general ways: heteronomously or autonomously. Both characterisations, however, appear at to be at odds with one another. Our problem, in a nutshell, is that explanations of shame appear to straddle both sides of this autonomous and heteronomous divide, resulting in a tension. I focus on the nature of this tension, and consider a way to resolve it. The study divides into three parts. In the first part, I provide an overview of shame, calling upon a broad range of philosophical and psychological accounts. I isolate some of the most important characteristics of shame and the general categories under which they fall. In the second part, I use the notions of autonomy and heteronomy to explore a central feature of shame, that is, the shaming judgement. In the final part, I reconcile shame's heteronomous and autonomous aspects in a philosophical characterisation of the phenomenon of shame that makes the self, rather than the other, its central feature.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: On shame
Identifier: PQ ETD:594108
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1446378
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