Unification through the Rationalities and Intentionalities of Shame

In Cecilea Mun, Dolichan Kollareth, Laura Candiotto, Matthew Rukgaber, Daniel Richard Herbert, Alba Montes Sánchez, Lisa Cassidy, Mikko Salmela & Julian Honkasalo (eds.), Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Shame: Methods, Theories, Norms, Cultures, and Politics. Lanham: Lexington Books. pp. 27-50 (2019)
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Abstract

In this chapter, I argue that an understanding of what shame is through an understanding of its rationality and intentionality can provide a single framework that may be able to unify the research on shame, perhaps even across disciplines. To do so, I begin by explaining what a criterion for the ontological rationality of shame is, and I explain its relation to an understanding of what makes shame the kind of emotion that it is. In doing so, I demonstrate how the rationality of shame, including the criterion for the ontological rationality of shame, is intimately intertwined with shame’s intentionality. Next, I consider some of the research on shame from the disciplines of philosophy and psychology in order to isolate the genus from the differentia of shame, and, with the inclusion of research from the discipline of sociology, I derive the criterion for the ontological rationality of shame. I follow this discussion by introducing an understanding of shame as a superordinate inference rule, which amounts to a non-standard account of shame, in order to fulfill the criterion for the ontological rationality of shame. I conclude by explaining how what I suggest as the core of shame—the superordinate inference rule of shame—fulfills the criterion for the ontological rationality of shame, by constituting the ontological rationality of shame, and I highlight the benefit of my account over alternative accounts of shame in regard to the rationality of our experiences of shame. I thereby argue in virtue of an inference to the best explanation for my proposal to fulfill the criterion for the ontological rationality of shame and to provide a single unifying framework for an understanding of what shame is.

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Cecilea Mun
Arizona State University (PhD)

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