Contempt as the absence of appraisal, not recognition, respect

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40 (2017)
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Gervais & Fessler’s defense of a sentiment construct for contempt captures features distinguishing the phenomenon from basic emotions and highlights the fact that it comprises a coordinated syndrome of responses. However, their conceptualization of contempt as the absence of respect equivocates. Subsequently, a “dignity” culture that prescribes respect does not thereby limit legitimate contempt in the manner the authors claim.

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Michelle Mason Bizri
University of Minnesota


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