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Parr Center Presents: Krista Thomason, “Does Contempt Belong in Public Life?”
September 29 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
“Does Contempt Belong in Public Life?”
Most people agree that we have an obligation to be civil in public life. The problem is that we disagree about what “being civil” means. Does being civil mean we shouldn’t express negative emotions, even when we think someone deserves it? This talk focuses on contempt and its place in public life. Are there times when we should be contemptuous of others or will it do more damage to an already fragile public forum? I argue that one of the primary dangers of contempt is its tendency to help us construct and maintain images of ourselves and other people. This feature of contempt makes it difficult for us to deliberate with each other in public life.
Krista K. Thomason is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Swarthmore College and the current Philip L. Quinn Fellow at the National Humanities Center. Her areas of expertise include moral philosophy, history of philosophy, and political philosophy. Some of her publications appear in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, European Journal of Philosophy, and The Monist. She is the author of the book Naked: The Dark Side of Shame and Moral Life, which was published with Oxford University Press in 2018.