1st Edition

Honouring and Admiring the Immoral An Ethical Guide

By Alfred Archer, Benjamin Matheson Copyright 2021
    138 Pages
    by Routledge

    138 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Is it appropriate to honour and admire people who have created great works of art, made important intellectual contributions, performed great sporting feats, or shaped the history of a nation if those people have also acted immorally? This book provides a philosophical investigation of this important and timely question.

    The authors draw on the latest research from ethics, value theory, philosophy of emotion, social philosophy, and social psychology to develop and substantiate arguments that have been made in the public debates about this issue. They offer a detailed analysis of the nature and ethics of honour and admiration, and present reasons both in favour and against honouring and admiring the immoral. They also take on the important matter of whether we can separate the achievements of public figures from their immoral behaviour. Ultimately, the authors reject a “onesize-fits-all” approach and argue that we must weigh up the reasons for and against honouring and admiring in each particular case.

    Honouring and Admiring the Immoral is written in an accessible style that shows how philosophy can engage with public debates about important ethical issues. It will be of interest to scholars and students working in moral philosophy, philosophy of emotion, and social philosophy.


    Chapter 1: Honour and Admiration

    Chapter 2: Admirability and Immorality

    Chapter 3: Reasons Against Honouring and Admiring

    Chapter 4: Against Abandoning Admiration

    Chapter 5: Refocusing Admiration



    Alfred Archer is an assistant professor of philosophy at Tilburg University and a member of the Tilburg Center for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science. His primary research interests are in moral philosophy and moral psychology, particularly supererogation, the nature and ethics of admiration, and the ethics of fame.

    Benjamin Matheson is a Humboldt research fellow at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He has research interests in ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of emotions, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. His work has appeared in Philosophical Studies, American Philosophical Quarterly, and Canadian Journal of Philosophy.

    "A much-needed investigation in one of the hottest topics in philosophy, psychology, and public discourse"

    Maria Silvia Vaccarezza, University of Genoa, Italy

    "When is the artist’s immorality relevant to their art? And how should we respond to immoral artists? Honouring and Admiring the Immoral offers elegant, balanced, and occasionally, wonderfully personal answers to these questions . . . I urge anyone interested in art and morality, free speech, and social epistemology to treat this work as essential reading."

    Daisy Dixon, The Philosophical Quarterly