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Moral Emotions

Reclaiming the Evidence of the Heart

Anthony J. Steinbock

Publication Year: 2014

Moral Emotions builds upon the philosophical theory of persons begun in Phenomenology and Mysticism and marks a new stage of phenomenology. Author Anthony J. Steinbock finds personhood analyzing key emotions, called moral emotions. Moral Emotions offers a systematic account of the moral emotions, described here as pride, shame, and guilt as emotions of self-givenness; repentance, hope, and despair as emotions of possibility; and trusting, loving, and humility as emotions of otherness.
The author argues these reveal basic structures of interpersonal experience. By exhibiting their own kind of cognition and evidence, the moral emotions not only help to clarify the meaning of person, they reveal novel concepts of freedom, critique, and normativity. As such, they are able to engage our contemporary social imaginaries at the impasse of modernity and postmodernity.

Published by: Northwestern University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-2

The reflections and clarifications of method that follow are in some way as much a result of these analyses as they are the direct motivation for them. In part, they came as an attempt to carry out a phenomenology of the emotions in the tradition begun by Edmund Husserl, and developed by Max Scheler, Martin Heidegger, and Maurice Merleau- Ponty. But they also evolved as an attempt to do phenomenology with others. Sparked...

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Introduction: The Distinctiveness of Moral Emotions

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pp. 3-26

My intention in this work is twofold. First, it is to give a fuller and richer account of the human person than is customarily available in interpretations that restrict evidence in human experience to the perceptual and judicative dimensions, broadly defi ned. I do this by describing certain key moral emotions. To bring these moral emotions into consideration...

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Part 1. Moral Emotions of Self- Givenness

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pp. 27-30

This first part of Moral Emotions concerns the emotions of self-givenness. The main emotions of self- givenness that I focus on in this work are pride, shame, and guilt. I briefl y touch on related and antithetical emotions in this part, such as embarrassment, self-love, being proud of, self-confidence, modesty, remorse, and so on, primarily as a way of drawing...

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1. Pride

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pp. 31-66

As with all the emotions treated here, pride, like shame, guilt, hope, trust, and so on, can be approached within more limited strictures. For example, it can be treated either sociologically, psychoanalytically, neurologically, or anthropologically. This is justifi ed because trust, for example, does arise as a sociological phenomenon, guilt as a psychoanalytic...

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2. Shame

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pp. 67-99

Pride emerges freely, creatively, qualifying dynamically who we are as persons. Yet it is self- limiting and self- dissimulating regarding who we are as persons. Pride is not of such a mettle that “I” could call it into question; a moral reduction of pride is not something that “I” can perform. Shame arises within the emotional sphere of the person in a way that reveals ...

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3. Guilt

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pp. 100-134

Like pride and shame, guilt as an emotional experience is a kind of selfgivenness that has interpersonal signifi cance. Guilt, like shame, is able to call pride into question in the mode of a moral self-critique. This is not only due to the fact that, like shame, guilt is a diremptive experience, but more specifically because in guilt I am given to myself before another as accused through an experienced transgression and as responsive to ...

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Part 2. Moral Emotions of Possibility

In the second part of this work, I treat moral emotions of possibility. They are called moral emotions of possibility because of the ways in which our straightforward ways of existing in the world are modalized. By this I mean that they express the transformation in relation to the way things have been or the way things are, a liberation from otherwise fixed predictable meanings, and a liberation for something becoming otherwise. In...

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4. Repentance

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pp. 137-159

In a gripping work that has now become a classic reference for the dynamic of forgiveness, The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness,1 Simon Wiesenthal recounts his unimaginable situation as a young man in a Nazi concentration camp assigned to a makeshift “Reserve Hospital.” Summoned arbitrarily by a nurse at the behest of a severely ...

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5. Hope and Despair

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pp. 160-194

We saw how repentance can appropriate the past and present significance of an event and myself through a reprise toward an open future; and we saw how it can liberate me through a dispositing and existential disclaiming so that I can reorient myself through an immanent and transcendent revolution, reestablishing interpersonal connections. I treat...

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Part 3. Moral Emotions of Otherness

In this part, I investigate primarily three moral emotions under the heading of the emotions of otherness: trust, loving, and humility. While other moral emotions that have been described here also have a bearing on otherness, these emotions, trust, loving, and humility, are emotions that are directly engaged with “otherness” in a way that is exemplary. Further,...

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6. Trust

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pp. 197-222

Trust is a fundamental experience evident on many levels of our lives. We not only trust someone at a particular place and time, say, when we are involved in a transaction, but in more encompassing ways: we trust a lover to be faithful, we trust a friend to be true. More basically and implicitly still, we trust as we walk among others along a crowded street;...

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7. Loving and Humility

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pp. 223-260

I treat the moral emotions of loving and humility in this chapter. While the phenomenon of loving has been evoked throughout this work, both because it is so fundamental to interpersonal experience, and because it is a way of highlighting the peculiar qualities of other emotions, I give only a brief treatment of it in this chapter. While a fuller treatment of...

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Conclusion: Moral Emotions, the Person, and the Social Imaginary

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pp. 261-278

These phenomenological investigations into the moral emotions have provided us with accounts of the meanings and structural characteristics of privileged personal as interpersonal experiences. These investigations have also given us a more expansive notion of the person than we gain through only a perceptual, judicative, or discursive framework; they do...


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pp. 279-318


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pp. 319-332


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pp. 333-340

About the Author

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pp. 341-341

E-ISBN-13: 9780810167544
E-ISBN-10: 0810167549
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810129566
Print-ISBN-10: 0810129558

Page Count: 353
Illustrations: 360
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 879352430
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Moral Emotions

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Emotions -- Moral and ethical aspects.
  • Emotions (Philosophy).
  • Ethics.
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