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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Moral Emotions: Reclaiming the Evidence of the Heart

Book reviewed by John J. Drummond, Fordham University

Anthony J. Steinbock, Moral Emotions: Reclaiming the Evidence of the Heart, Northwestern University Press, 2014, 339pp., $34.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780810129566.

Here is an excerpt:

In this context, the other emotions of self-givenness -- shame and guilt -- function both as self-critique and as challenges to pride. Shame and guilt are diremptive experiences that clearly reveal the interpersonality of one's personhood. In shame "I am not only given as exposed before another, but as receiving myself from another" (76). Shame self-critically apprehends a loss of self-value, but, more importantly, shame reorients the self toward its positive value insofar as it motivates one to modify one's self-understanding of who one is. This self-revelation is what enables shame to serve as a critique of the prideful self, and its futurity points to a Myself as what I ought to be and can be. Shame thereby annuls pride and orients us toward an interpersonal (even if only myself and Myself) normativity. Guilt similarly involves a diremption, but guilt focuses not on what I am but what I did. I stand before you accused by you and responsible to you for what I have done and will do.

The entire book review is here.