Shame is one of a family of self-conscious emotions that includes embarrassment, guilt, disgrace, and humiliation. On Shame examines this emotion psychologically and philosophically, in order to show how it can be a galvanizing force for moral action against the violence and atrocity that characterize the world we live in.
Michael L. Morgan argues that because shame is global in its sense of the self, the moral failures of all groups in which we are a member – including the entire human race – reflect on each person individually.
Drawing on historical and current affairs to explore the emotion of shame, as well as films such as Night and Fog, Hotel Rwanda and Life is Beautiful and the work of Primo Levi, Bernard Williams, and Stanley Cavell, Michael Morgan illustrates how moral responsibility can be facilitated by calling upon an emotional reaction that is familiar, complex, and central to our conception of ourselves as individuals and as members of society.
Michael L. Morgan is Chancellor's Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at Indiana University.
His publications include Dilemmas in Modern Jewish Thought, Beyond Auschwitz, Interim Judaism, and Discovering Levinas.
'Participating in a recent revival of philosophical interest in the phenomenon of shame and its relation to our identities and practical lives, Michael Morgan's book makes a passionate and philosophically intelligent case for regarding shame as fundamental to the kinds of social beings we are.'
– Alice Crary, the New School for Social Research, USA
'Deeply engaging and very easy to read. The subject Morgan addresses is timely and important. On Shame provides philosophical analysis in a way that should be accessible to the educated reader, and mixes this analysis effectively with current events, literature, film and psychology. I suspect many people will be grateful for the help it provides in thinking more deeply about difficult issues that cannot be ignored.'
– Marya Schechtman, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA