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Hiding from Humanity:
Disgust, Shame, and the Law
Martha C. Nussbaum

Book Description | Table of Contents
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"What part should disgust pay in determining which acts society punishes, and how severely? And to what extent, if at all, should disgust's cousin, shame, be harnessed to play a role in punishment? As a liberal, Nussbaum comes to a liberal answer. But this does no credit to the painstakingly fair way in which she sets out and explores the arguments in both directions, and any reader who approaches her book with views firmly set is likely to leave it with solid certainties somewhat shake. . . . She traverses some difficult territory, from necrophilia and bestiality to Martha Stewart, to reach as close to a civilized conclusion as the subject may admit."--David Honigmann, Financial Times

"This study, written in an engaging style that reflects Nussbaum's concern to make philosophy accessible, contains a keen and erudite examination of the emotions of disgust and shame. . . . Getting to the root of what causes us disgust, shame and righteous anger forces us to clarify what we value. This is the task to which Nussbaum's study should inspire us."--Christian Century

"Writing in an academically sophisticated but accessible style, Nussbaum is equally at home discussing Aristotle and Freud, Whitman's poetry and Supreme Court case law. The result is an exceptionally smart, stimulating and intellectually rigorous analysis that adds an illuminating psychological dimension to our understanding of law and public policy."--Publishers Weekly

"[A] sophisticated exploration of how emotions enlarge or contract the nation's commitment to equal dignity for all. . . . Populists and communitarians will lock horns with legal theorists in the debates this book will provoke."--Booklist

"Nussbaum's work is rich and readable. To construct her argument she uses thick case studies and extensive research from a wide variety of literary, experimental, and sociological sources. She gives a fair hearing and fair treatment not only to her own liberal position and its accompanying conclusions but to those whose conclusions mark out strong disagreement with her."--Dolores L. Christie, Magill's Literary Annual 2005

"Hiding from Humanity is a noteworthy addition to recent scholarship on emotions and a valuable counterweight to the growing--and at times unexamined--endorsement of disgust and shame."--Justin Reinheimer, Law, Culture, and the Humanities


"This exciting book on emotions and the law tackles universal questions central to every legal system. We may pretend that law is a wholly rational discipline. We may try to tame strong emotions. But as Martha Nussbaum shows in her analysis of the passions that influence our attitude to law and its problems, we cannot deny our human feelings. Sometimes in the law, however, we strongly need to keep them in check. Intuition, in particular, is often wrong. Disgust is sometimes based on an infantile dislike of the unfamiliar."--Justice Michael Kirby, High Court of Australia

"This elegantly written book interweaves materials from psychoanalytic theory, ancient and contemporary moral and political philosophy, literature and law. Hiding from Humanity represents a comprehensive, sustained, and highly impressive analysis of the emotions of shame and disgust and the role they play in moral and legal analysis."--Seana Shiffrin, University of California, Los Angeles

"A pleasure to read. The skill and dexterity of Nussbaum's arguments demonstrate why she is so widely admired."--Jack M. Balkin, Yale University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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