eBook: Download Hiding Humanity Disgust Shame Law ePub (KINDLE, PDF, MOBI) + Audio Version


  • File Size: 3329 KB
  • Print Length: 423 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (January 10, 2009)
  • Publication Date: January 10, 2009
  • Language: English

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The particular thesis presented in this book is relatively simple. Human being beings are deeply troubled about being human--being highly intelligent and resourceful, on the one hand, but weak and vulnerable, weak against death, on the other. We are embarrassed with this awkward condition and, in many ways, we try to hide from it. In the process, we develop sentiments such as shame at individual frailty and disgust at the signs of our animality and mortality.

In addition , we use these two emotions to project our fears on marginalized groupings or people who come to embody the dominant group's fear and loathing of its own human failure. Disgust and shame are therefore two potent individual emotions, nevertheless they are also problematic and should not be used as a reference in law ingredients or legal punishment. On the contrary, law should protect citizens from insults with their dignity such as shaming and scapegoating.

Martha Nussbaum describes her book as "an essay about the psychological foundations of liberalism" and she makes great use of experimental data, including materials from child psychology and psychoanalysis, in her analysis of shame and disgust. On the other hand, separate from a few referrals to Erving Goffman's psycho-sociology of stigma, she won't mobilize insights from anthropology and the social savoir, and doesn't attempt to compare the variations encountered by human emotions across cultures. She dismisses Martha Douglass' analysis of purity and pollution as unnecessary to her subject, besides making no reference to Rene Girard's theory of physical violence and the sacred.

Likewise, the conclusions she pulls from her analysis of emotions and the regulation are mostly confined to the American context, and she makes no reference to other legal traditions. Her defense of same-sex marriage or her critique of some aspects of obscenity regulations are bound to be provocative. Unfortunately, she tends to dismiss her competitors as falling prey to "moral panic" rather than critically engaging their arguments.

Even though I am sympathetic to Nussbaum's liberal agenda, I am not fully convinced by the theoretical foundations of her analysis, and I cannot follow her on some of her results. But Hiding from Humanity nonetheless provides an interesting read. It should be appreciated by all who care about political liberalism and its core beliefs of equal respect, reciprocity, and the inviolability of the person., This is a amazing book. Because a gay man, I discovered myself saying "thank you" outloud as I done each chapter. Nussbaum is more than just a wonderful American philosopher, she's a national treasure. If you haven't read her trade with the, in my opnion, evil philosopher John Finnis, I highly recommend you do. One final point, although I am also a fan of Judith Butler (and I am aware that Nussbaum and Butler don't always see eye to eye), I see no reason why anyone has to "choose sides. " The two of these women are amazing, and both are great to read. The particular book is very long, which is fine becuase thinkers like Nussbaum have so many interesting ideas and observations on the planet we live in. A single impression that I received from the book (and this has not do with Nussbaum's own views) is how hard it is trying to come up with a non-theological (that is, non-mystical) debate against homosexuality. Personally, I don't think one can be made -- not a convincing one, at least. Nussbaum co-edited a debate-style book on sexual orientation and American religious beliefs, and all the fights against homosexuality really dropped flat and seemed so outdated and almost "hokey. " So that they really were unable that convincing either. Bottom line is: gays and lesbians have all the right to freedom and the huge benefits that come with it (marriage, ect. ) that straight people do. Right after all, marriage is focused on financial rights and perks whether we want to confess this to ourselves or not. It’s not fair that heterosexuals must have a monopoly on those rights, benefits, perks and so forth And besides, who doesn't want gays and lesbians to be in loving, happy, monogamous relationships? And what better incentive is marriage?

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