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Shame as a Self-Other-Conscious Emotion


Philosophy Symposium Guest speaker, Professor Dan Zahavi, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Oxford, and Senior Research Fellow at St Hilda’s College, will give a talk entitled ‘Shame as a self-other-conscious emotion’. All are welcome to attend the talk, drinks and discussion. 


On many standard readings, shame is an emotion that targets and involves the self in its totality. In shame, the self is affected by a global devaluation: it feels defective, objectionable, condemned. The basic question I wish to raise and discuss is the following: What does the fact that we feel shame tell us about the nature of self? Does shame testify to the presence of a self-concept, a (failed) self-ideal, and a capacity for critical self-assessment, or does it rather, as some have suggested, point to the fact that the self is in part socially constructed? Should shame primarily be classified as a self-conscious emotion, or is it rather a distinct social emotion?