A Slap in the Face: Why Insults Hurt--And Why They Shouldn't by William B. IrvineA Slap in the Face: Why Insults Hurt--And Why They Shouldn't by William B. Irvine

A Slap in the Face: Why Insults Hurt--And Why They Shouldn't

byWilliam B. Irvine

Paperback | August 9, 2017

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Insults are part of the fabric of daily life. But why do we insult each other? Why do insults cause us such pain? Can we do anything to prevent or lessen this pain? Most importantly, how can we overcome our inclination to insult others? In A Slap in the Face, William Irvine undertakes a wide-ranging investigation of insults, their history, the role they play in social relationships, and the science behind them. He examines not just memorable zingers, such as Elizabeth Bowen's description of Aldous Huxley as "The stupid person'sidea of a clever person," but subtle insults as well, such as when someone insults us by reporting the insulting things others have said about us: "I never read bad reviews about myself," wrote entertainer Oscar Levant, "because my best friends invariably tell me about them." Irvine also considersthe role insults play in our society: they can be used to cement relations, as when a woman playfully teases her husband, or to enforce a social hierarchy, as when a boss publicly berates an employee. He goes on to investigate the many ways society has tried to deal with insults-by adopting codesof politeness, for example, and outlawing hate speech-but concludes that the best way to deal with insults is to immunize ourselves against them: We need to transform ourselves in the manner recommended by Stoic philosophers. We should, more precisely, become insult pacifists, trying hard not toinsult others and laughing off their attempts to insult us.A rousing follow-up to A Guide to the Good Life, A Slap in the Face will interest anyone who's ever delivered an insult or felt the sting of one - in other words, everyone.
William B. Irvine is Professor of Philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. His books include A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, On Desire: Why We Want What We Want, and Aha!: The Moments of Insight that Shape Our World.
Title:A Slap in the Face: Why Insults Hurt--And Why They Shouldn'tFormat:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 7 × 5 × 0.68 inPublished:August 9, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190665041

ISBN - 13:9780190665043

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Editorial Reviews

"Aristotle said we were rational animals, but the Stoics noticed that we were insulting animals. Other animals establish social hierarchies with claws and fangs, we do so with words. William Irvine is a collector and a connoisseur of insults, and well-chosen examples keep this book lively.But he also understands insults; he has important wisdom to impart, backed by his own common sense, some science, and some philosophy, about how to deal with the insults we are likely to get, and inclined to give." --John Perry, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, University of California at Riverside and Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Stanford University