Offense and Offensiveness : A Philosophical Account book cover
1st Edition

Offense and Offensiveness
A Philosophical Account

ISBN 9780367541705
Published November 3, 2020 by Routledge
278 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book offers a comprehensive study of the nature and significance of offense and offensiveness. It incorporates insights from moral philosophy and moral psychology to rationally reconstruct our ordinary ideas and assumptions about these notions.

When someone claims that something is offensive, others are supposed to listen. Why? What is it for something to be offensive? Likewise, it’s supposed to matter if someone claims to have been offended. Is this correct? In this book, Andrew Sneddon argues that we should think of offense as a moralized bad feeling. He explains offensiveness in terms of symbolic value. We tend to give claims of both offense and offensiveness more credence than they deserve. While it is in principle possible for there to be genuine moral problems of offense and offensiveness, we should expect such problems to be rare.

Offense and Offensiveness: A Philosophical Account will be of interest to scholars and students working in moral philosophy and moral psychology.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

Part I. The Nature and Significance of Offense

2. The Nature of Offense

3. Offense and Well-Being Part I: Is Feeling Offended Intrinsically Bad?

4. Offense and Well-Being Part II: Interests and the Mind

5. The Significance of Offense: A Suggestion

Part II. The Nature and Significance of Offensiveness

6. Offensiveness and Symbolic Value

7. Putting Offense and Offensiveness Together: From Affect to Symbolic Aspects of Ways of Living, and Back Again

8. The Significance of Offensiveness


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Andrew Sneddon is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa. He studies ethics and philosophical psychology. He is the author of Action and Responsibility (2006), Like-Minded: Externalism and Moral Psychology (2011), and Autonomy (2013).