Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good

Oxford University Press, 14 janv. 2021 - 224 pages
Marta Jimenez presents a novel interpretation of Aristotle's account of the role of shame in moral development. Despite shame's bad reputation as a potential obstacle to the development of moral autonomy, Jimenez argues that shame is for Aristotle the proto-virtue of those learning to be good, since it is the emotion that equips them with the seeds of virtue. Other emotions such as friendliness, righteous indignation, emulation, hope, and even spiritedness may play important roles on the road to virtue. However, shame is the only one that Aristotle repeatedly associates with moral progress. The reason is that shame can move young agents to perform good actions and avoid bad ones in ways that appropriately resemble not only the external behavior but also the orientation and receptivity to moral value characteristic of virtuous people.

Through an analysis of the different cases of pseudo-courage and the passages on shame in Aristotle's ethical treatises, Jimenez argues that shame places young people on the path to becoming good by turning their attention to considerations about the perceived nobility and praiseworthiness of their own actions and character. Although they are not yet virtuous, learners with a sense of shame can appreciate the value of the noble and guide their actions by a genuine interest in doing the right thing. Shame, thus, enables learners to perform virtuous actions in the right way before they possess practical wisdom or stable dispositions of character. This proposal solves a long-debated problem concerning Aristotle's notion of habituation by showing that shame provides motivational continuity between the actions of the learners and the virtuous dispositions that they will eventually acquire


Table des matières

Becoming Virtuous by Doing Virtuous Actions
Learning through Pleasure Pain the Noble and the Shameful
PseudoVirtuous Practices PseudoVirtuous Conditions
Connecting Shame with Honorand the Noble
The Mixed Nature of Shame
Shame as the ProtoVirtue of the Learners
Shame Love of the Noble and Moral Development
Index of Texts
Index of Names
Index of Subjects
Droits d'auteur

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À propos de l'auteur (2021)

Marta Jimenez, Associate Professor, Emory University

Marta Jimenez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Emory University. Originally from Spain, she was educated in Spain, Germany, the United States, and Canada. Her work focuses mainly on topics related to moral psychology, philosophy of action, theory of emotions, ethics, and political thought in Plato, Aristotle, and the Cynics. She has broader research interests in contemporary ethics, emotion theory, action theory, virtue ethics, and social epistemology.

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