Shame and Honor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


Shame and the love of honor are emotions that reside uneasily in the ethical life of modern liberal societies. Both sentiments are fundamentally concerned with maintaining a public appearance of power or importance. A person has honor to the extent that he occupies a socially recognized status by which he can expect to be taken seriously by others, either as a potential compatriot or as a competitor. To feel shame is, in its most basic forms, to be painfully aware that this status has been threatened or compromised, if not altogether lost. Such shame involves a sense of the diminishment of our self-worth through the thought that we have been exposed to others as appropriate objects of derision, contempt, or pity (see Self-Respect And Self-Esteem; Worth/Dignity). A disgraced person is no longer someone who can be admired, loved, or feared, but only something to be turned away from and forgotten.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Ethics
EditorsHugh LaFollette
ISBN (Electronic)9781444367072
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013


  • autonomy
  • emotion
  • ethics
  • guilt and innocence
  • responsibility

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Shame and Honor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Sussman, D. (2013). Shame and Honor. In H. LaFollette (Ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics