Enforcing social norms: The morality of public shaming

European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):997-1016 (2020)
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Public shaming plays an important role in upholding valuable social norms. But, under what conditions, if any, is it morally justifiable? Our aim in this paper is systemically to investigate the morality of public shaming, so as to provide an answer to this neglected question. We develop an overarching framework for assessing the justifiability of this practice, which shows that, while shaming can sometimes be morally justifiable, it very often is not. In turn, our framework highlights several reasons to be concerned about the increasingly widespread phenomenon of online public shaming.

Author Profiles

Paul Billingham
Oxford University
Tom Parr
University of Essex


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