Bongrae Seok, "Moral Psychology of Confucian Shame: Shame of Shamelessness" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017)


Shame is a complex social emotion that has a particularly negative valence; in the West it is associated with failure, inappropriateness, dishonor, disgrace. But within the Confucian tradition, there is in addition a distinct, positive variety of moral shame a virtue that, as Bongrae Seok writes, "is not for losers but for self-reflective moral leaders". In Moral Psychology of Confucian Shame: Shame of Shamelessness (Rowman and Littlefield), Seok draws on textual evidence from Confucius, Mencius, and Xunzi, as well as contemporary moral psychology, anthropology, biology, linguistics, and ancient Greek philosophy, to illuminate one aspect of the rich Confucian tradition in moral psychology. Seok, who is associate professor of philosophy at Alvernia University, explains how moral shame involves the whole self's sensitivity to moral ideals and supports the Confucian virtues of self-cultivation, self-reflection and learning.

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Carrie Figdor

Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.

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