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International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Journal | Issue | Article

Scheler on shame

A critical review

Daniel Dahlstrom

pp. 239-262

This paper presents a critical review of Scheler’s analysis of shame's structure, dynamic, and affectivity, and his explanation of phenomena of shame. This first part of the paper examines Scheler’s accounts of shame’s basic condition, the law ultimately governing its origin, and its basic dynamic. The second part of the paper turns to his general descriptions of what we feel when we feel shame and his analyses of two distinct forms of shame. The conclusion attempts to draw these aspects of his account of shame together to illustrate why, according to Scheler, we feel shame. Throughout the paper, some basic criticisms of Scheler’s account are advanced. At the same time the paper attempts to demonstrate the virtues of his highly differentiated descriptions of experiences of shame and his attempt to weave these descriptions together into a general theory.

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