Emotion, Character, and Responsibility

Hardcover | September 1, 1998

byJohn Sabini, Maury Silver

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In their new book, Emotion, Character, and Responsibility, John Sabini and Maury Silver examine a conflict in the way that psychologists, philosophers, and ordinary people think about character. Most of us share an intuition that emotions are central to who we are and the characters we have,even though emotions are unchosen. Yet we also share the intuition that action, choice, and responsibility are what count about our characters. This book deals with this conflict by exploring the relations between the chosen and unchosen, moral and nonmoral, in sincerity, loyalty, sympathy, shame,guilt, and embarrassment as they affect our characters. The conflict is resolved by finding an aesthetic as well as moral basis of character. Along the way the authors consider questions such as can one truly avow ones feelings and still be insincere? What, if anything, is lacking in the Star Trekcharacter Mr. Spock? Why is loyalty toward particular people and not people in general a duty? Is it a good idea for guilt to replace shame? How can we describe genuine self-deception without relying on unconscious knowledge? The book ends with the radical proposal that some of the emotions do notexist, at least not in the way that motives exist. We will not find them on any present or future brain scan. And yet, the authors argue, emotions matter.

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From the Publisher

In their new book, Emotion, Character, and Responsibility, John Sabini and Maury Silver examine a conflict in the way that psychologists, philosophers, and ordinary people think about character. Most of us share an intuition that emotions are central to who we are and the characters we have,even though emotions are unchosen. Yet we als...

John Sabini is at University of Pennsylvania. Maury Silver is at Temple University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 8.31 × 5.79 × 0.98 inPublished:September 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195121678

ISBN - 13:9780195121674

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Emotion, Responsibility, and Character3. On the Captivity of the Will: Sympathy, Caring, and a Moral Sense of the Human4. Sincerity: Feelings and Construction in Making a Self5. Loyalty as Good and Duty: A Critique of Stocker6. In Defense of Shame: Shame in the Context of Guilt and Embarrassment7. On Knowing Self-Deception8. On the Possible Nonexistence of Emotions: The Passions

Editorial Reviews

"Sabini and Silver explore the relationship between emotions and judgments about moral character. Observing that people base evaluations of moral character on both a person's actions and the emotions the person shows, the authors comment on the reality that people are said to be responsiblefor their actions whereas emotions are believed to be involuntary. The book examines the implications of the fact that moral character arises from factors people can control and others they cannot. The eight chapters include material on specific emotions, such as shame and guilt, and on relationsbetween emotion and action, such as sincerity and loyalty. Each chapter presents hypothetical cases as discussion topics from which the authors deduce principles relevant to the assessment of moral character. . . . Recommended as a useful . . . addition to an academic library serving upper-divisionundergraduate and graduate programs in psychology and philosophy."--Choice