Embarrassment and Self-Esteem

Emotions are in as a philosophical topic. Yet the recent literature is bent on grand theorizing rather than attempting to explore particular emotions and their roles in our lives. In this paper, I aim to remedy this situation a little by exploring the emotion of embarrassment. First, I critically examine R.C. Solomon’s conceptual sketch and try to distinguish “embarrassment” from “shame”, “humiliation” and “being amused”. Secondly, I argue that “private embarrassment” is a coherent and useful idea and social scientists and philosophers who dismiss it as unintelligible are mistaken. Thirdly, I discuss the question why is embarrassment (unlike other emotions) catching. Fourth, I make the heretical suggestion that doing philosophy is essentially embarrassing for Socratic interlocutors. Throughout the paper there is a discussion of possible links between embarrassment and loss of self-esteem
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/jpr_1990_3
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Alan Weir (2003). Neo-Fregeanism: An Embarrassment of Riches. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 44 (1):13-48.
Mary K. Babcock (1988). Embarrassment: A Window on the Self. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 18 (4):459–483.
Stephen Burwood (2003). Universities Without Embarrassment. Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (3):297–301.
Mary Terrall (2005). An Embarrassment of Riches. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 36 (1):185-190.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

17 ( #160,237 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #231,316 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.