email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
Anger and Forgiveness"Are You There Alone?"10 Good Questions about Life and DeathA Casebook of Ethical Challenges in NeuropsychologyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to Muslim EthicsA Cooperative SpeciesA Critique of the Moral Defense of VegetarianismA Delicate BalanceA Life for a LifeA Life-Centered Approach to BioethicsA Matter of SecurityA Natural History of Human MoralityA Philosophical DiseaseA Practical Guide to Clinical Ethics ConsultingA Question of TrustA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Short Stay in SwitzerlandA Very Bad WizardA World Without ValuesAction and ResponsibilityAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionActs of ConscienceAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction NeuroethicsAdvance Directives in Mental HealthAfter HarmAftermathAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HealthAgainst Moral ResponsibilityAgency and AnswerabilityAgency and ResponsibilityAgency, Freedom, and Moral ResponsibilityAging, Biotechnology, and the FutureAlbert Schweitzer's Reverence for LifeAlphavilleAltruismAmerican EugenicsAmerican PsychosisAn Anthology of Psychiatric EthicsAn Introduction to EthicsAn Introduction to Evolutionary EthicsAn Introduction to Kant's Moral Philosophy And a Time to DieAnimal LessonsAnimal RightsAnimals Like UsApplied Ethics in Mental Health CareAre Women Human?Aristotle on Practical WisdomAristotle's Ethics and Moral ResponsibilityAssisted Suicide and the Right to DieAutonomyAutonomy and the Challenges to LiberalismAutonomy, Consent and the LawBabies by DesignBackslidingBad PharmaBad SoulsBasic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free WillBeauty JunkiesBefore ForgivingBeing AmoralBeing YourselfBending Over BackwardsBending ScienceBernard WilliamsBetter Humans?Better Than WellBeyond ChoiceBeyond GeneticsBeyond HatredBeyond Humanity?Beyond LossBeyond LossBeyond Moral JudgmentBeyond the DSM StoryBias in Psychiatric DiagnosisBioethicsBioethicsBioethics and the BrainBioethics at the MoviesBioethics Beyond the HeadlinesBioethics Critically ReconsideredBioethics in a Liberal SocietyBioethics in the ClinicBiomedical EthicsBiomedical EthicsBiomedical EthicsBiomedical EthicsBiomedical Research and BeyondBiosBioscience EthicsBipolar ChildrenBluebirdBodies out of BoundsBodies, Commodities, and BiotechnologiesBody BazaarBoundBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBraintrustBrandedBreaking the SilenceBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyCapital PunishmentCase Studies in Biomedical Research EthicsChallenging the Stigma of Mental IllnessCharacter and Moral Psychology Character as Moral FictionChild Well-BeingChildrenChildren's RightsChoosing ChildrenChoosing Not to ChooseClinical Dilemmas in PsychotherapyClinical EthicsCloningClose toYouCoercion as CureCoercive Treatment in PsychiatryCognition of Value in Aristotle's EthicsCognitive Disability and Its Challenge to Moral Philosophy Comfortably NumbCommonsense RebellionCommunicative Action and Rational ChoiceCompetence, Condemnation, and CommitmentComprehending CareConducting Insanity EvaluationsConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConflict of Interest in the ProfessionsConsuming KidsContemporary Debates In Applied EthicsContemporary Debates in Moral TheoryContemporary Debates in Social PhilosophyContentious IssuesContesting PsychiatryCrazy in AmericaCreating CapabilitiesCreatures Like Us?Crime and CulpabilityCrime, Punishment, and Mental IllnessCritical Perspectives in Public HealthCritical PsychiatryCrueltyCultural Assessment in Clinical PsychiatryCutting to the CoreCyborg CitizenDamaged IdentitiesDeaf Identities in the MakingDeath Is That Man Taking NamesDebating Same-Sex MarriageDecision Making, Personhood and DementiaDecoding the Ethics CodeDefining DifferenceDefining Right and Wrong in Brain ScienceDefining the Beginning and End of LifeDelusions of GenderDementiaDemocracy in What State?Demons of the Modern WorldDescriptions and PrescriptionsDesert and VirtueDesire, Practical Reason, and the GoodDestructive Trends in Mental HealthDeveloping the VirtuesDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Difference and IdentityDigital HemlockDigital SoulDignityDisability BioethicsDisability, Difference, DiscriminationDisordered Personalities and CrimeDisorders of VolitionDisorientation and Moral LifeDivided Minds and Successive SelvesDoes Feminism Discriminate against Men?Does Torture Work?Double Standards in Medical Research in Developing CountriesDrugs and JusticeDworkin and His CriticsDying in the Twenty-First CenturyEarly WarningEconomics and Youth ViolenceEmbodied RhetoricsEmerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in BionanotechnologyEmotional ReasonEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions in the Moral LifeEmpathyEmpathy and Moral DevelopmentEmpathy and MoralityEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEncountering NatureEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEngendering International HealthEnhancing EvolutionEnhancing Human CapacitiesEnoughEros and the GoodErotic InnocenceErotic MoralityEssays on Derek Parfit's On What MattersEssays on Free Will and Moral ResponsibilityEthical Choices in Contemporary MedicineEthical Conflicts in PsychologyEthical Dilemmas in PediatricsEthical Issues in Behavioral ResearchEthical Issues in Dementia CareEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthical Issues in the New GeneticsEthical LifeEthical Reasoning for Mental Health ProfessionalsEthical TheoryEthical WillsEthically Challenged ProfessionsEthicsEthicsEthicsEthics and AnimalsEthics and ScienceEthics and the A PrioriEthics and the Discovery of the UnconsciousEthics and the Metaphysics of MedicineEthics at the CinemaEthics Case Book of the American Psychoanalytic AssociationEthics Done RightEthics ExpertiseEthics for EveryoneEthics for PsychologistsEthics for the New MillenniumEthics in CyberspaceEthics in Health CareEthics In Health Services ManagementEthics in Mental Health ResearchEthics in PracticeEthics in PsychiatryEthics in PsychologyEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingEthics of PsychiatryEthics without OntologyEthics, Culture, and PsychiatryEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEvaluating the Science and Ethics of Research on HumansEvilEvil GenesEvil in Modern ThoughtEvil in Modern ThoughtEvolution, Gender, and RapeEvolutionary Ethics and Contemporary BiologyEvolutionary Psychology and ViolenceEvolved MoralityExperiments in EthicsExploding the Gene MythExploiting ChildhoodFacing Human SufferingFact and ValueFaking ItFalse-Memory Creation in Children and AdultsFat ShameFatal FreedomFellow-Feeling and the Moral LifeFeminism and Its DiscontentsFeminist Ethics and Social and Political PhilosophyFeminist TheoryFinal ExamFirst Do No HarmFirst, Do No HarmFlashpointFlesh WoundsForced to CareForgivenessForgivenessForgiveness and LoveForgiveness and ReconciliationForgiveness and RetributionFoucault and the Government of DisabilityFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Forensic Mental Health AssessmentFree WillFree Will And Moral ResponsibilityFree Will and Reactive AttitudesFree Will, Agency, and Meaning in LifeFree?Freedom and ValueFreedom vs. InterventionFriendshipFrom Darwin to HitlerFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Enlightenment to ReceptivityFrom Morality to Mental HealthFrom Silence to VoiceFrontiers of JusticeGender in the MirrorGenetic PoliticsGenetic ProspectsGenetic ProspectsGenetics of Original SinGenetics of Original SinGenocide's AftermathGetting RealGluttonyGood WorkGoodness & AdviceGreedGroups in ConflictGrowing Up GirlGut FeminismHabilitation, Health, and AgencyHandbook for Health Care Ethics CommitteesHandbook of BioethicsHandbook of PsychopathyHappinessHappiness and the Good LifeHappiness Is OverratedHard FeelingsHard LuckHardwired BehaviorHarmful ThoughtsHeal & ForgiveHealing PsychiatryHealth Care Ethics for PsychologistsHeterosyncraciesHistorical and Philosophical Perspectives on Biomedical EthicsHoly WarHookedHookedHow Can I Be Trusted?How Propaganda WorksHow to Do Things with Pornography How to Make Opportunity EqualHow Universities Can Help Create a Wiser WorldHow We HopeHow We Think About DementiaHuman BondingHuman EnhancementHuman GoodnessHuman Identity and BioethicsHuman TrialsHumanism, What's That?Humanitarian ReasonHumanityHumanizing MadnessI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!I Was WrongIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf That Ever Happens to MeImproving Nature?In Defense of FloggingIn Defense of SinIn Love With LifeIn Our Own ImageIn the FamilyIn the Land of the DeafIn the Name of IdentityIn the Wake of 9/11In Two MindsInformed Consent in Medical ResearchInnovation in Medical TechnologyInside Assisted LivingInside EthicsIntelligence, Race, and GeneticsIntensive CareIs Human Nature Obsolete?Is Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Is There a Duty to Die?Is There an Ethicist in the House?Issues in Philosophical CounselingJudging Children As ChildrenJust a DogJust BabiesJust CareJustice for ChildrenJustice for HedgehogsJustice in RobesJustice, Luck, and KnowledgeJustifiable ConductKant on Moral AutonomyKant's Theory of VirtueKids of CharacterKilling McVeighLack of CharacterLack of CharacterLaw and the BrainLearning About School ViolenceLearning from Baby PLeaving YouLectures on the History of Political PhilosophyLegal and Ethical Aspects of HealthcareLegal Aspects of Mental CapacityLegal ConceptionsLegalizing ProstitutionLet Them Eat ProzacLevelling the Playing FieldLiberal Education in a Knowledge SocietyLiberal EugenicsLife After FaithLife at the BottomLife, Sex, and IdeasListening to the WhispersLiving ProfessionalismLosing Matt ShepardLostLuckyMad in AmericaMad PrideMadhouseMaking Another World PossibleMaking Babies, Making FamiliesMaking Genes, Making WavesMaking Sense of Freedom and ResponsibilityMalignantMasculinity Studies and Feminist TheoryMeaning and Moral OrderMeaning in LifeMeaning in Life and Why It MattersMeans, Ends, and PersonsMeans, Ends, and PersonsMedical Enhancement and PosthumanityMedical Research for HireMedicalized MasculinitiesMedically Assisted DeathMeditations for the HumanistMelancholia and MoralismMental Health Professionals, Minorities and the PoorMental Illness, Medicine and LawMerit, Meaning, and Human BondageMetaethical SubjectivismMill's UtilitarianismMind FieldsMind WarsMind WarsModern Theories of JusticeModernity and TechnologyMoney ShotMonsterMoral Acquaintances and Moral DecisionsMoral BrainsMoral ClarityMoral CultivationMoral Development and RealityMoral Dilemmas in Real LifeMoral DimensionsMoral EntanglementsMoral FailureMoral LiteracyMoral MachinesMoral MindsMoral OriginsMoral Panics, Sex PanicsMoral ParticularismMoral PerceptionMoral PsychologyMoral Psychology: Volume IVMoral RealismMoral RelativismMoral RepairMoral Responsibility and Alternative PossibilitiesMoral Status and Human LifeMoral StealthMoral Theory at the MoviesMoral TribesMoral Value and Human DiversityMoral, Immoral, AmoralMoralismMorality and Self-InterestMorality in a Natural WorldMorality, Moral Luck and ResponsibilityMorals, Rights and Practice in the Human ServicesMorals, Rights and Practice in the Human ServicesMore Than HumanMotive and RightnessMovies and the Moral Adventure of LifeMurder in the InnMy Body PoliticMy Brain Made Me Do ItMy Sister's KeeperMy Sister's KeeperMy WayNano-Bio-EthicsNarrative MedicineNarrative ProsthesisNatural Ethical FactsNatural-Born CybogsNaturalized BioethicsNeither Bad nor MadNeoconservatismNeonatal BioethicsNeurobiology and the Development of Human MoralityNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNew Takes in Film-PhilosophyNew Waves in EthicsNew Waves in MetaethicsNietzsche on Ethics and PoliticsNo Child Left DifferentNo Impact ManNormative EthicsNormativityNothing about us, without us!Oath BetrayedOf War and LawOn ApologyOn Being AuthenticOn EvilOn Human RightsOn The Stigma Of Mental IllnessOn the TakeOn Virtue EthicsOn What MattersOn What We Owe to Each OtherOne ChildOne Nation Under TherapyOne World NowOne World NowOur Bodies, Whose Property?Our Bodies, Whose Property?Our Daily MedsOur Faithfulness to the PastOur Posthuman FutureOut of EdenOut of Its MindOut of the ShadowsOverdosed AmericaOxford Handbook of Psychiatric EthicsOxford Textbook of Philosophy of PsychiatryPassionate DeliberationPatient Autonomy and the Ethics of ResponsibilityPC, M.D.Perfecting VirtuePersonal AutonomyPersonal Autonomy in SocietyPersonal Identity and EthicsPersonhood and Health CarePersons, Humanity, and the Definition of DeathPerspectives On Health And Human RightsPharmacracyPharmageddonPhilosophy and This Actual WorldPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of Technology: The Technological ConditionPhysician-Assisted DyingPicturing DisabilityPilgrim at Tinker CreekPlaying God?Playing God?Political EmotionsPornlandPowerful MedicinesPractical Autonomy and BioethicsPractical EthicsPractical Ethics for PsychologistsPractical RulesPragmatic BioethicsPragmatic BioethicsPragmatic NeuroethicsPraise and BlamePreferences and Well-BeingPrimates and PhilosophersPro-Life, Pro-ChoiceProcreation and ParenthoodProfits Before People?Progress in BioethicsProperty in the BodyProzac As a Way of LifeProzac on the CouchPsychiatric Aspects of Justification, Excuse and Mitigation in Anglo-American Criminal Law Psychiatric EthicsPsychiatry and EmpirePsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychology and Consumer CulturePsychology and LawPsychotropic Drug Prescriber's Survival GuidePublic Health LawPublic Health Law and EthicsPublic PhilosophyPunishing the Mentally IllPunishmentPursuits of WisdomPutting Morality Back Into PoliticsPutting on VirtueQuality of Life and Human DifferenceRaceRadical HopeRadical VirtuesRape Is RapeRe-creating MedicineRe-Engineering Philosophy for Limited BeingsReason's GriefReasonably ViciousReckoning With HomelessnessReconceiving Medical EthicsRecovery from SchizophreniaRedefining RapeRedesigning HumansReducing the Stigma of Mental IllnessReflections On How We LiveReframing Disease ContextuallyRefusing CareRefuting Peter Singer's Ethical TheoryRelative JusticeRelativism and Human RightsReligion ExplainedReprogeneticsRescuing JeffreyResponsibilityResponsibility and PsychopathyResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility from the MarginsResponsible GeneticsRethinking CommodificationRethinking Informed Consent in BioethicsRethinking Mental Health and DisorderRethinking RapeReturn to ReasonRevolution in PsychologyRightsRights, Democracy, and Fulfillment in the Era of Identity PoliticsRisk and Luck in Medical EthicsRobert NozickRousseau and the Dilemmas of Modernity Rule of Law, Misrule of MenRun, Spot, RunRunning on RitalinSatisficing and MaximizingSchizophrenia, Culture, and SubjectivityScience and EthicsScience in the Private InterestScience, Policy, and the Value-Free IdealScience, Seeds and CyborgsScratching the Surface of BioethicsSecular Philosophy and the Religious TemperamentSeeing the LightSelf-ConstitutionSelf-Made MadnessSelf-Trust and Reproductive AutonomySentimental RulesSex Fiends, Perverts, and PedophilesSex OffendersSex, Family, and the Culture WarsSexual DevianceSexual EthicsSexual PredatorsSexualized BrainsShaping Our SelvesShock TherapyShould I Medicate My Child?ShunnedSick to Death and Not Going to Take It AnymoreSickoSide EffectsSidewalk StoriesSister CitizenSkeptical FeminismSocial Inclusion of People with Mental IllnessSocial JusticeSociological Perspectives on the New GeneticsSome We Love, Some We Hate, Some We EatSovereign VirtueSpeech MattersSpiral of EntrapmentSplit DecisionsSticks and StonesStories MatterSubjectivity and Being SomebodySuffering, Death, and IdentitySuicide ProhibitionSurgery JunkiesSurgically Shaping ChildrenTaking Morality SeriouslyTaming the Troublesome ChildTechnology and the Good Life?TestimonyText and Materials on International Human RightsThe Aims of Higher EducationThe Almost MoonThe Altruistic BrainThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Forensic PsychiatryThe Animal ManifestoThe Animals' AgendaThe Art of LivingThe Autonomy of MoralityThe Beloved SelfThe Best Things in LifeThe Big FixThe Bioethics ReaderThe Biology and Psychology of Moral AgencyThe Blackwell Guide to Medical EthicsThe Body SilentThe BondThe Book of LifeThe Burden of SympathyThe Cambridge Companion to Virtue EthicsThe Cambridge Companion to Virtue EthicsThe Cambridge Textbook of BioethicsThe Case against Assisted SuicideThe Case Against PerfectionThe Case Against PunishmentThe Case for PerfectionThe Case of Terri SchiavoThe Challenge of Human RightsThe Code for Global EthicsThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe Common ThreadThe Connected SelfThe Constitution of AgencyThe Creation of PsychopharmacologyThe Criminal BrainThe Decency WarsThe Difficult-to-Treat Psychiatric PatientThe Disability PendulumThe Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to ConfrontationThe Domain of ReasonsThe Double-Edged HelixThe Duty to ProtectThe Emotional Construction of MoralsThe End of Ethics in a Technological SocietyThe End of Stigma?The Essentials of New York Mental Health LawThe Ethical BrainThe Ethical Dimensions of the Biological and Health SciencesThe Ethics of BioethicsThe Ethics of ParenthoodThe Ethics of SightseeingThe Ethics of the FamilyThe Ethics of the Family in SenecaThe Ethics of the LieThe Ethics of TransplantsThe Ethics ToolkitThe Evolution of Mental Health LawThe Evolution of MoralityThe FamilyThe Fat Studies ReaderThe Forgiveness ProjectThe Form of Practical KnowledgeThe Fountain of YouthThe Freedom ParadoxThe Future of Assisted Suicide and EuthanasiaThe Future of Human NatureThe Good BookThe Good LifeThe Great BetrayalThe Handbook of Disability StudiesThe Healing VirtuesThe High Price of MaterialismThe History of Human RightsThe HorizonThe Idea of JusticeThe Ideal of NatureThe Illusion of Freedom and EqualityThe Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Importance of Being UnderstoodThe Insanity OffenseThe Joy of SecularismThe Language PoliceThe Last Normal ChildThe Last UtopiaThe Limits of MedicineThe LobotomistThe Love CureThe Lucifer EffectThe Manual of EpictetusThe Mark of ShameThe Meaning of NiceThe Medicalization of SocietyThe Merck DruggernautThe Mind Has MountainsThe Modern Art of DyingThe Modern SavageThe Moral ArcThe Moral BrainThe Moral Demands of MemoryThe Moral FoolThe Moral MindThe Moral Psychology HandbookThe Moral, Social, and Commercial Imperatives of Genetic Testing and ScreeningThe Most Good You Can DoThe Myth of ChoiceThe Myth of the Moral BrainThe Nature of NormativityThe New Disability HistoryThe New Genetic MedicineThe New Religious IntoleranceThe Offensive InternetThe Origins of FairnessThe Oxford Handbook of Animal EthicsThe Oxford Handbook of Ethics at the End of LifeThe Perfect BabyThe Philosophy of NeedThe Philosophy of PornographyThe Philosophy of PsychiatryThe Politics Of LustThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Power of Religion in the Public SphereThe Price of PerfectionThe Price of TruthThe Problem of PunishmentThe Prosthetic ImpulseThe Psychology of Good and EvilThe Psychology of Good and EvilThe PsychopathThe Purity MythThe Pursuit of PerfectionThe Relevance of Philosophy to LifeThe Right Road to Radical FreedomThe Right to Be ParentsThe Righteous MindThe Root of All EvilThe Rules of InsanityThe Second SexismThe Second-Person StandpointThe Silent World of Doctor and PatientThe Sleep of ReasonThe Social Psychology of Good and EvilThe Social Psychology of MoralityThe Social Psychology of MoralityThe Speed of DarkThe Stem Cell ControversyThe Stem Cell ControversyThe Story of Cruel and UnusualThe Story WithinThe Stubborn System of Moral ResponsibilityThe Suicide TouristThe Terrible GiftThe Theory of OptionsThe Therapy of DesireThe Trauma of Psychological TortureThe Trauma of Psychological TortureThe Triple HelixThe Trolley Problem MysteriesThe Trouble with DiversityThe Truth About the Drug CompaniesThe Ugly LawsThe Varieties of Religious ExperienceThe Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric EngagementThe Virtues of HappinessThe Virtuous Life in Greek EthicsThe Virtuous PsychiatristThe Voice of Breast Cancer in Medicine and BioethicsThe War Against BoysThe War for Children's MindsThe Whole ChildThe Woman RacketThe Worldwide Practice of TortureTherapy with ChildrenThieves of VirtueThree Generations, No ImbecilesTimes of Triumph, Times of DoubtTolerance Among The VirtuesTolerance and the Ethical LifeTolerationToxic PsychiatryTrauma, Truth and ReconciliationTreatment Kind and FairTrusting on the EdgeTry to RememberUltimate JudgementUnborn in the USA: Inside the War on AbortionUndermining ScienceUnderstanding AbortionUnderstanding CloningUnderstanding EmotionsUnderstanding EvilUnderstanding Moral ObligationUnderstanding Physician-Pharmaceutical Industry InteractionsUnderstanding TerrorismUnderstanding the GenomeUnderstanding the Stigma of Mental IllnessUnderstanding Treatment Without ConsentUnhingedUnprincipled VirtueUnsanctifying Human Life: Essays on EthicsUnspeakable Acts, Ordinary PeopleUp in FlamesUpheavals of ThoughtUsers and Abusers of PsychiatryValue-Free Science?Values and Psychiatric DiagnosisValues in ConflictVegetarianismViolence and Mental DisorderVirtue EthicsVirtue, Rules, and JusticeVirtue, Vice, and PersonalityVirtues and Their VicesWar Against the WeakWar, Torture and TerrorismWarrior's DishonourWeaknessWelfare and Rational CareWhat Genes Can't DoWhat Have We DoneWhat Is a Human?What Is Good and WhyWhat Is Good and WhyWhat Is the Good Life?What Price Better Health?What Should I Do?What We Owe to Each OtherWhat Would Aristotle Do?What's Good on TVWhat's Normal?What's Wrong with Children's RightsWhat's Wrong with Homosexuality?What's Wrong With Morality?When Is Discrimination Wrong?Who Holds the Moral High Ground?Who Owns YouWho Qualifies for Rights?Whose America?Whose View of Life?Why Animals MatterWhy Animals MatterWhy I Burned My Book and Other Essays on DisabilityWhy Not Kill Them All?Why Punish? How Much?Why Some Things Should Not Be for SaleWisdom, Intuition and EthicsWithout ConscienceWomen and Borderline Personality DisorderWomen and MadnessWondergenesWould You Kill the Fat Man?Wrestling with Behavioral GeneticsWriting About PatientsYou Must Be DreamingYour Genetic DestinyYour Inner FishYouth Offending and Youth Justice Yuck!
Perhaps I am just a contemptuous person and am looking for a convenient justification of my contemptuousness, but I found Macalester Bell's Hard Feelings to be both interesting and persuasive. It wasn't simply the arguments and conclusions that I liked but, additionally, her general approach to moral psychology. I would characterize that approach as a part of a tradition that takes its cue from P. F. Strawson's 1962 essay "Freedom and Resentment." According to this tradition, we can analyze human morality without having to mire ourselves in metaphysical debates such as the relationship freedom and moral responsibility. Instead, we can investigate ethical concepts by focusing on personal relationship and what kinds of attitudes it makes sense for beings like us to have towards others in those relationships. Bell herself notes her alignment with this Strawsonian tradition (p. 18, n. 33). However, as she also notes in the introduction, reactive attitudes like shame and contempt are importantly different from guilt and resentment in that the latter concern a person's actions whereas the former concern an evaluation of the person herself.
An ethics of contempt need not take a stand on [metaphysical issues surrounding moral responsibility and freedom]; contempt makes no claims about the target's freedom or whether the truth of determinism is incompatible with this freedom. Contempt involves an evaluation of the person rather than the person's culpable actions. Thus whether contempt is a fitting response does not turn on whether free will is compatible with the truth of determinism (p. 20).
As is suggested by the epigraphs from Robert Adams and Edmund Burke in the introduction, one's of Bell's central points of departure from many projects in traditional philosophical ethics is the idea that it is not only actions that are subject to moral evaluation but also feelings. That there are certain attitudes, including negatively-valenced emotions like contempt, that are vital to an overall assessment of our moral lives is the general claim that Bell defends in her book. The more specific focus of Hard Feelings, of course, is contempt. Bell argues that contempt is a vital, yet admittedly dangerous, emotion for our moral lives.
Contempt, according to Bell, "is a way of negatively and comparatively regarding or attending to someone who is presented as falling below the contemnor's personal baseline. This form of regard constitutes a withdrawal from the target and may motivate further withdrawal" (p. 46). To be more precise, contempt:
1) involves an appraisal of status (i.e., failing to meet some standard),
2) is directed at persons rather than actions,
3) is essentially comparative, and
4) is characterized by withdrawal from the object of contempt.
There is one further key ingredient but in order to best explain it, we'll need to consider a central objection to the very idea of contempt. The objection is that contempt could never be a "fitting" emotion since it makes an appraisal of the whole person rather than simply of the person's actions and any appraisal of the whole person as "bad" can never be correct. After all, people are complex and it is overly simplistic to treat them as all good or all bad. A more specific version of this objection that Bell considers comes from John Doris's work which attempts to show, using accumulated finding from social psychology, that there is no such thing as "global" character traits. A "globalist" character trait would be one that 1) reliably manifests the relevant behavior across a wide variety of circumstances and 2) is integrated with other similarly valenced traits. So, for example, a person who is haughty (a negatively valenced trait) would be haughty in almost any different situation and would also have other negatively valenced character traits. The problem with such a conception of character traits, according to Doris, is that all the empirical evidence speaks against it. People are hugely influenced by their environments in morally significant respects and in such a manner that it would be difficult to predict which situational factors will affect one's behavior (for example, finding a quarter in a phone booth will make you significantly more likely to help another in need and the ambient noise of a lawnmower will significantly decrease helping behavior). But if there is no such thing as character traits—traits that characterize the whole person—then any evaluation of the whole person must be misguided. Bell's disagreement with Doris is over whether a globalist emotion like contempt requires that we present the target as possessing only other similarly valenced traits. Doris seems to think any globalist assessment of the person does whereas Bell claims that globalist assessments make "evaluative prioritizations" such that certain traits in the target are seen as more important than others (p. 77). If that is so, then the contemnor needn't see the contemned as possessing no other positively valenced traits. Rather, the contemnor can see those other traits as simply not as important as the traits that the contemnor contemns.
This raises the obvious question: What determines which traits are the more important ones? That is, given that people are complex and possess both positive and negative traits, on what basis can we prioritize the negative traits, thus making a negative character judgment about the person? Bell's answer is that which traits are given evaluative priority depends on the nature of the relationship between the contemnor and the contemned. Relationships between individuals come in different flavors because the values that form the basis of the relationships differ. Bell gives several examples. For example, if Claude and Steven formed a relationship over their shared commitment to abstract expressionism and artistic excellence, then if Claude later finds that Steven is producing sentimental watercolors to sell to the masses, Claude might feel apt contempt towards Steven. Although Claude might recognize that Steven has other positive traits, those traits just aren't as central to their relationship. Since Steven has violated a standard that was partially constitutive of their relationship Claude's contempt is fitting, as would be Steven's shame. In contrast, consider Andrew, who runs an animal shelter where Steven is a dedicated volunteer. Andrew has nothing but admiration for Steven's dedication, dependability and love of animals. Based on Andrew's relationship with Steven, this admiration is perfectly fitting. Thus, as these examples illustrate, what determines whether a globalist emotion is fitting is both subject-relative, since the different relationships make for different prioritizations of what is important, and objective, since the norms constituting these relationships are real things. As Bell notes, "we are sisters, mothers, and friends, and colleagues; and insofar as we are parties to relationships, we are bound by the norms that partially constitute our relationships. While it's true that some relationships are more attitude-dependent than others, the norms that partially constitute these relationships are not themselves attitude dependent. Whether we are bound by these norms is not simply a question of how we feel or how things subjectively appear to us" (pp. 86-87). I think Bell is right to emphasize that the norms constituting such relationships are objective, in a sense, but I wonder what we should say if Steven were to feel no shame vis-à-vis his relationship with Claude? Would that mean that Claude's contempt was still fitting? Who would be "right" in this case? I'm not sure but for me a situation such as this raises questions about the nature of these norms.
So we can add as a further component of contempt, that
5) it is subject-relative, yet objective (in the way indicated above).
This makes allows us to make sense of contempt as a globalist emotion but it does not yet explain the category of the contemptible. Indeed, if contempt is subject-relative, it seems there could be no such category as the contemptible. Nothing is contemptible tout court but only contemptible vis-à-vis particular relationships, in which the norms that govern those relationships help sort out which of the individual's characteristics are of centrally importance to those relationships. Nevertheless, Bell thinks that there is such a thing as a contemptible person. A contemptible person is someone towards whom one would (and should) feel apt contempt from the perspective of a minimally acceptable morality. In chapters 3-4, Bell argues that contempt is the best response to certain kinds of "vices of superiority" which damage not only personal relationships between individuals but also the moral fabric of society.
Imagine a company executive who refuses to sit next to a laborer on a train, or a woman who uses her education level as justification to exact deference from a public employee whom she regards as her inferior, or someone who rails against homosexuality only to be later discovered soliciting a male prostitute (i.e., Ted Haggard), or an academic who constantly brags about her accomplishments to her lesser-accomplished colleague as a way of trying to build her own esteem. These are all cases where someone believes him/herself to have a high status (which in some cases they actually do have) and use that status to gain esteem and deference at the expense of someone else. This is what Bell calls "superbia" and, together with hypocrisy and arrogance (more specific sub-types of superbia), this is what she calls the "vices of superiority." Bell claims that the vices of superiority damage personal relationships by damaging the self-esteem of those who bear the ill will of those who evince the vices of superiority. Further, those who evince those vices are also themselves damaged, for example, because their ability to form friendships will be compromised (p. 122). However, in addition to damage to personal relationships she also thinks that the vices of superiority contribute to a deeper, structural damage to the fabric of society. Those who exhibit the vices of superiority are analogous to free-riders who take advantage of the system for person gain and, in doing so, wreck the system. I'll give you Bell's own words:
The vices of superiority impair our moral relationships insofar as they undermine a social system in which praiseworthy traits are esteemed and objectionable traits are disesteemed. Worlds where the vices of superiority are evinced but go undetected are worlds where the unworthy are likely to gain esteem and deference from members of the community. …Worlds where the vices of superiority are detected but go unanswered are worlds where people become cynical and are less likely to esteem anyone. …Ideally we would esteem and disesteem persons in accordance with their merit, and aiming for this ideal is the best way of managing persons' desire for esteem. Those who evince the vices of superiority attempt to take advantage of and undermine a system in which persons are esteemed when they show themselves to be worthy of esteem; in so doing, those who manifest these vices damage their relationships with other persons (pp. 125-126).
This passage, to me, is reminiscent of W. K. Clifford when, in the "Ethics of Belief," he argues that our failure to uphold high standards of belief formation would lead to disastrous consequences for the moral fabric of society. What I always ask my students when reading Clifford is: How does Clifford know that this is what would happen? I am inclined to wonder something similar about the claims here. In any case, Bell's claim is that the vices of superiority do cause this kind of structural damage and since they do, some kind of response is called for. Contempt to the rescue.
Bell argues that contempt is uniquely able to answer to the kinds of damage caused by the vices of superiority. First of all, contempt is appropriate because the orientation of the response is precisely to withdraw from the person seeking illegitimate esteem at another's expense and to view them as having a comparatively low status. Thus, contempt doesn't reward the behavior with the kind of attention seeking that is at the heart of the vices of superiority. Second, contempt provides reasons for the contemned to change by giving the contemned a taste of his own medicine, so to speak. In doing so, "this puts him in a position to better appreciate reasons to change his ways" (p. 130). Thirdly, contempt helps protect those who would seek to be brought low by superbia, arrogance and hypocrisy. "If you harbor contempt for someone, they cannot shame you" (p. 132).
A particularly interesting claim that Bell makes regards the non-instrumental value of contempt in our moral lives—a claim which connects to the overarching thesis that it matters morally not just how we act but also how we feel. Given that contempt is the most appropriate response to the vices of superiority, to feel contempt in response to them is to express and embody our values in a way that allows us to maintain our moral integrity. To not feel contempt would be to have our feelings out of sync with our values and thus to not be able to uphold our integrity (pp. 161-162). In addition, our contempt holds the target responsible for "badbeing" (in contrast to wrongdoing) and demands a change of attitude (in contrast to behavior) (p. 163).
As with most monographs in philosophy, Bell responds to a barrage of objections, one of which I've discussed above, a couple more of which I'll discuss briefly now. According to a Kantian objection, globalist attitudes like contempt fail to give the respect that is due to all persons, regardless of their merits. Bell answers this objection by invoking a distinction between recognition respect (which relates to the respect due to any member of the moral community) and appraisal respect (positive appraisal of moral agents based their merit). The simple point is that we can hold recognition respect for the contemned while failing to give them appraisal respect. There is no reason to think that the contemnor need fail to respect the legal or moral rights of the contemned. Indeed, insofar as contempt offers the contemned reasons to change her attitudes, contempt provides for a Kantian respect for persons in not manipulating the contemned by bypassing her reasoning faculties.
Another objection asks whether or not the characteristic withdrawal of contempt can function as a "moral address." Bell thinks the answer "is a rather straightforward yes" (p. 185) and I would echo her sentiment here. Upon reading this I was reminded of the silent protest of the UC-Davis students in the presence of Chancellor Katehi after she had defended the police who pepper-sprayed the occupy movement students. I'm not sure this counts as contempt according to Bell's account (NPR describes it as disdain) but I am sure that this "silent treatment" spoke volumes in a way that words never could.
Finally, since Bell argues that we have an obligation to contemn (pp. 190-191), she considers the objection that we can be morally obligated to have a particular feeling since having a particular feeling is not under our control and so seems to violate the "ought implies can" principle. No worries, she says, we can still claim (in the spirit of Pascal) that we can cultivate the emotions, like contempt, that we have reason to cultivate.
One might capture Bell's claims about contempt in the form of a warning: "Warning: contempt is a powerful and potentially destructive emotion; use only as directed." Bell recognizes that contempt has had corrosive effects on our society, but the powerfulness of the emotion can also be used as a force for good. The corrosive effects of contempt is most clearly seen in racist contempt. Racist contempt, however, shouldn't call into question the role of contempt vis-à-vis the vices of superiority, according to Bell since the former is inapt contempt while the latter is apt contempt. Bell claims that racist contempt is a kind of superbia and as such one of its characteristic harms is the degradation of the self-esteem of the contemned. (As an example she brings up the "stereotype threat" which is the tendency of, e.g., blacks to experience a high level of anxiety when encountering a situation that would test a stereotype that is in the air, such as the stereotype that whites are smarter than blacks. For example, when a test was described as measuring intellectual ability, blacks who took it would have higher anxiety and perform worse than if the very same test were labeled as one that measures verbal problem solving.) Bell claims that a "defiant counter-contempt" is the best response to racist contempt. This counter-contempt towards racists works because it allows the target of racist contempt to dismiss the contemnor as "low" and "one's self-esteem cannot be threatened by others' contempt if one sees the contemnors as low and unworthy of appraisal respect" (p. 206). However, does not this escalating arms race of contempt and counter-contempt preclude any possibility of civil exchange and, if so, does this foreclose the possibility of achieving a progressive moral consensus? That is, since the characteristic stance of contempt is withdrawal, in fighting contempt with contempt do we not foreclose any chance of agreement through civil debate? That is an objection to which Bell's response is:
While civility has an important role to play in regulating our social interactions, when persons publically express superbia in such a way as to undermine others' self-esteem, then they are not owed a civil response. To respond civilly to such persons is to risk condoning the superbia they express, thereby further damaging moral relations (p. 219).
Furthermore, Bell claims, it isn't true that civil debate is the only way to achieve a progressive moral consensus. She gives examples from our own country's racist history of how it wasn't only civil debate that led to the progressive moral consensus (that slavery is immoral) that we appreciate today. Sometimes the characteristic disruptive stance of contempt is exactly what is needed to help achieve a new progressive moral consensus (p. 222).
Bell closes with a chapter on forgiveness, in which she discusses the conditions under which we should be willing to overcome our feelings of contempt and forgive the badbeing of the contemned. There are two main reasons to forgive those we contemn, according to Bell: 1) character transformation of the contemned and 2) shame of the contemned. Shame, she thinks, is closely connected with character change and so functions as a kind of indication of it. However, the idea that forgiveness can be offered in the case of character transformation encounters what she calls the "free gift objection." According to the free gift objection, forgiveness is something which by its nature must be freely given. However, if someone has totally transformed their former badbeing then it seems that we no longer have any reason for holding contempt for them. But in that case it looks like we are obligated to forgive and forgiveness can't be something that is obligatory, it must be a free gift. That is the objection. Bell's response to the free gift objection is to note that is rests on the assumption that our character assessments track only the person's current dispositions. Bell claims that we should reject that assumption because "while a person's present dispositions are partially constitutive of her character, they are meaningful only when illuminated by her history and knowledge of her past actions" (p. 248). But that allows us to see the person's character as still containing elements of badbeing (since her past does) and that, she thinks, will not completely remove our grounds for apt contempt. But if we still have grounds for apt contempt, then offering forgiveness would be a gift freely given. I'm not sure I find this argument totally convincing. At the very least it requires awkward sounding phrases like, "I forgive you for you are." Although Bell seems to think this makes good sense, and that it is the opposite ("I forgive you for who you were") doesn't, my intuitions run in exactly the opposite direction. I really can't imagine saying to someone that I forgive them for the kind of person they are but I can imagine forgiving them for the kind of person they were. True, who we are currently is partly constituted by who we were but I'm not sure that that fact alone gets Bell to a satisfactory answer to the "free gift objection." What one would like a further justification for is that claim that in forgiving past badbeing, we take that badbeing to continue to constitute the person's present character. I don't think Bell has given us a reason to think that and it doesn't simply follow from the truism that who we are is partly constituted by who we were.
As Bell notes in her conclusion, Hard Feelings constitutes part of a more general "reclamation project" in ethics (p. 275). Bell's "bottom up" approach to ethics is to start with an investigation of a range of different emotions and to consider the role those emotions have in our moral lives rather than starting with a theory that antecedently specifies a set of emotions that are considered "moral emotions." Although I can't comment on the success of this larger project, I can say that Bell's investigation of contempt in Hard Feelings is to be praised for its thoroughness, carefulness, creativeness and incisiveness. It is a very well argued monograph and if you are at all interested in ethics or moral psychology, you should read it.
© 2013 Matthew Van Cleave
Matthew Van Cleave, Lansing Community College, Lansing MI