Humiliation, dignity and self-respect

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That an intimate connection exists between the notion of human dignity and the notion of humiliation seems to be a commonplace among philosophers, who tend to assume that humiliation should be explained in terms of (violation of) human dignity. I believe, however, that this assumption leads to an understanding of humiliation that is too "philosophical" and too detached from psychological reality. The purpose of the paper is to modify the above connection and to offer a more "down to earth" account of humiliation that does not depend on metaphysical or axiological questions concerning the unique dignity enjoyed by all human beings qua human beings. The paper argues for a subjective-psychological notion of self-respect in the explication of humiliation, instead of an objective-normative one. To be humiliated means to suffer an actual threat to or fall in one's self-respect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-540
Number of pages18
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Philosophy


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