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Book Title: Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law|
The author of the book: Martha C. Nussbaum
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Edition: Princeton University Press
Date of issue: January 10th 2009
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.35 MB
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Should laws about sex and pornography be based on social conventions about what is disgusting? Should felons be required to display bumper stickers or wear T-shirts that announce their crimes? This powerful and elegantly written book, by one of America's most influential philosophers, presents a critique of the role that shame and disgust play in our individual and social lives and, in particular, in the law.
Martha Nussbaum argues that we should be wary of these emotions because they are associated in troubling ways with a desire to hide from our humanity, embodying an unrealistic and sometimes pathological wish to be invulnerable. Nussbaum argues that the thought-content of disgust embodies "magical ideas of contamination, and impossible aspirations to purity that are just not in line with human life as we know it." She argues that disgust should never be the basis for criminalizing an act, or play either the aggravating or the mitigating role in criminal law it currently does. She writes that we should be similarly suspicious of what she calls "primitive shame," a shame "at the very fact of human imperfection," and she is harshly critical of the role that such shame plays in certain punishments.
Drawing on an extraordinarily rich variety of philosophical, psychological, and historical references--from Aristotle and Freud to Nazi ideas about purity--and on legal examples as diverse as the trials of Oscar Wilde and the Martha Stewart insider trading case, this is a major work of legal and moral philosophy.
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Read information about the authorProfessor Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, appointed in the Philosophy Department, Law School, and Divinity School. She is an Associate in the Classics Department and the Political Science Department, a Member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and a Board Member of the Human Rights Program. She is the founder and Coordinator of the Center for Comparative Constitutionalism.
Martha Nussbaum received her BA from NYU and her MA and PhD from Harvard. She has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities. From 1986 to 1993, Ms. Nussbaum was a research advisor at the World Institute for Development Economics Research, Helsinki, a part of the United Nations University. She has chaired the Committee on International Cooperation and the Committee on the Status of Women of the American Philosophical Association, and currently chairs its new Committee for Public Philosophy. She has been a member of the Association's National Board. In 1999-2000 she was one of the three Presidents of the Association, delivering the Presidential Address in the Central Division. Ms. Nussbaum has been a member of the Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Board of the American Council of Learned Societies. She received the Brandeis Creative Arts Award in Non-Fiction for 1990, and the PEN Spielvogel-Diamondstein Award for the best collection of essays in 1991; Cultivating Humanity won the Ness Book Award of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in 1998, and the Grawemeyer Award in Education in 2002. Sex and Social Justice won the book award of the North American Society for Social Philosophy in 2000. Hiding From Humanity won the Association of American University Publishers Professional and Scholarly Book Award for Law in 2004. She has received honorary degrees from thirty-seven colleges and universities in the U. S., Canada, Asia, and Europe, including Grinnell College, Williams College, The College of William and Mary, The University of St. Andrews (Scotland), the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), the University of Toronto, the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris), the New School University, the University of Haifa, Ohio State University, and Georgetown University. She received the Grawemeyer Award in Education in 2002, the Barnard College Medal of Distinction in 2003, the Radcliffe Alumnae Recognition Award in 2007, and the Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University in 2010. She is an Academician in the Academy of Finland. In 2009 she won the A.SK award from the German Social Science Research Council for (WZB) for her contributions to "social system reform," and the American Philosophical Society's Henry M. Phillips Prize in Jurisprudence.
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