By Macalester Bell
At a time while appreciate is broadly touted as an angle of imperative ethical value, contempt is frequently derided as a completely nasty emotion inimical to the distinction we owe all folks. yet whereas contempt is often pushed aside as thoroughly disvaluable, ethicists have had little or no to assert approximately what contempt is or no matter if it merits its gruesome popularity. Macalester Bell argues that we needs to think again contempt's position in our ethical lives. whereas contempt should be skilled in inapt and disvaluable methods, it could possibly even be a wonderfully acceptable reaction that gives the way of answering a number missed faults.
Using a wide selection of examples, Bell offers an account of the character of contempt and its virtues and vices. whereas a few insist that contempt is often unfitting due to its globalism, Bell argues that this objection mischaracterizes the individual tests on the center of contempt. Contempt is, on occasion, the way in which of responding to audacity, hypocrisy, and different vices of superiority. Contempt does have a depressing part, and inapt sorts of contempt constitution a bunch of social ills. Racism is better characterised as a particularly pernicious kind of inapt contempt, and Bell's account of contempt is helping us greater comprehend the ethical badness of racism. it really is argued that the way in which of responding to race-based contempt is to mobilize a powerful counter-contempt for racists.
The e-book concludes with a dialogue of overcoming contempt via forgiveness. This account of forgiveness sheds gentle upon the wider factor of social reconciliation and what position reparations and memorials might play in giving people purposes to beat their contempt for associations.
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Additional resources for Hard Feelings: The Moral Psychology of Contempt
There are, at this point, several distinct flavors of cognitivism, and no attempt will be made here to sort through all its different permutations. Most generally, cognitivists maintain that emotions are directly connected to propositional attitudes. According to the most robust versions of cognitivism, emotions are identified with judgments. To be afraid, for example, is to judge that the object of one’s fear is dangerous. 32 Cognitivism’s attractions are clear: if emotions are constituted by judgments, then we can easily account for their intentionality and rationality.
Those with an inflated sense of self-worth may be more liable to feelings of contempt than those who don’t think so highly of themselves. Finally, the subject of contempt characteristically withdraws from, and sees herself as having good reason to withdraw from, the target. This is reflected in the metaphors and gestures we use to express contempt. 53 And the gestures and facial expressions indicative of contempt often involve the creation or maintenance of distance between the contemnor and the contemned, for example, turning one’s back on the target, plugging one’s ears, refusing to shake hands, and the like.
Contempt’s fittingness conditions are contoured by the relationship between the contemnor and contemned, and I explore the implications of this claim for meta-ethical debates about “fitting attitude” theories of value. In chapter 3, I offer an account of the faults that 21 HARD FEELINGS most clearly merit contempt: the vices of superiority. These vices impair our moral relations, and contempt offers a uniquely apt way of responding to this damage. I continue my defense of the moral value of contempt in chapter 4 by showing how contempt answers the vices of superiority and in so doing realizes several distinct values.