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DOI 10.12887/30-2017-2-118-03

Barbara CHYROWICZ – The Discreet Charm of Shame

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This article seeks to analyze the category of shame, leaving aside some specific areas of human activity attendant upon shame. It seems that the problem of shame is most often found in the area of human sexuality, a fact that impoverishes the category of shame. I treat moral shame as an existential category, which means that it is directly connected with the internal discernment of the person that is ashamed. Understood in such a manner, it is impossible to persuade a person to be ashamed; even the social and cultural contexts that identify concrete types of misbehavior as shameful turn out to be insufficient. We are ashamed when we ourselves believe that a particular situation should not have taken place. Meanwhile, when we tell someone “you should be ashamed,” it will bring about no effect if the person we are reprimanding does not think in the same way. Shame indeed is an emotion we would like to avoid, if possible, nevertheless it plays an extremely important role in our moral lives.

Keywords: shame, guilt, embarrassment, observer, moral standard

Contact: Department of Particular Ethics,
Institute of Theoretical Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy,
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin,
Al. Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland

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  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887