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Broken contract. An ethical inquiry into shame

Stipe Buzar ; Dubrovnik International University - Libertas Međunarodno sveučilište

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 217 Kb

str. 478-493

preuzimanja: 547



The phenomenon of shame can be analysed with the apparatus of natural and social sciences, and humanities. Philosophical discussions about the phenomenon and emotion of shame extend across a wide range of disciplines, from metaphysics and anthro-pology, to the social and political disciplines. An ethical analysis of shame can be meta-ethical, meaning that the concept of ‘shame’ would be analyzed in terms of its usage in our moral language; descriptive, meaning that we would ask questions about the moral context in which people feel shame. Also, shame can be the subject matter of individual ethics, as it refers to the development of per¬sonal conscience, or social ethics, as it refers to social moral con¬demnation of certain acts, inasmuch as the person responsible for them becomes aware of their moral quality through the feeling of shame. In this text, the author approaches the subject through the context of normative ethics, thus attempting to answer the question: When is it proper to feel shame? In order to answer this question, the author invokes the ethical and political social contract tradition. The answer that he attempts to defend says that the proper occasion to feel shame is in those instances in which an individual breaks an explicit or implicit, written or verbal contract with the other. “The other” can be the whole of society, God, nature and the planet, one’s gender, one’s self. In short, “the other” can be any reality that can be represented as “another” in the mind of the person breaking the contract.

Ključne riječi

ethics; normative ethics; shame; social contract; contracting parties

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