On Shamelessness

Philosophical Papers 39 (3):401-425 (2010)
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Philosophical suspicions about the place of shame in the psychology of the mature moral agent are in tension with the commonplace assumption that to call a person shameless purports to mark a fault, arguably a moral fault. I shift philosophical suspicions away from shame and toward its absence in the shameless by focusing attention on phenomena of shamelessness. In redirecting our attention, I clarify the nature of the failing to which ascriptions of shamelessness might refer and defend the thought that, as an evasion of moral self-censure, shamelessness can be morally pernicious. Far from foregoing shame, I conclude, we should be mindful of its moral importance and unapologetic in its defense.

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Michelle Mason Bizri
University of Minnesota


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