Shame, stigma, and disgust in the decent society

Journal of Ethics 11 (1):31 - 63 (2007)
Would a just society or government absolutely refrain from shaming or humiliating any of its members? "No," says this essay. It describes morally acceptable uses of shame, stigma and disgust as tools of social control in a decent (just) society. These uses involve criminal law, tort law, and informal social norms. The standard of moral acceptability proposed for determining the line is a version of perfectionistic prioritarian consequenstialism. From this standpoint, criticism is developed against Martha Nussbaum's view that to respect the dignity of each person, society absolutely must refrain from certain ways of shaming and humiliating its members and rendering them objects of communal disgust
Keywords absolutism  consequentialism  disgust  John Stuart Mill  Martha Nussbaum  priority  John Rawls  shame  stigma
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DOI 10.2307/20728494
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