I would like to know if you think that embarrassment is just a state of mind? Are we only embarrassed because someone tells us we should be? Is embarrassment a choice? A matter of will power? Thanks, Yours Faithfully, Ben

Philosopher's reply

Dear Ben,

I think embarrassment isn't just a state of mind, but of the body too. When we're embarrassed we blush and our hearts beat faster. This is an important part of what it's like to feel embarrassment.

Other people do play a role in embarrassment by getting us to feel like certain things are bad or wrong or disgusting. But someone can't make us feel it simply by telling us to, nor can we get rid of it by deciding we don't want it. Feelings are like a garden: you can't just make plants grow by willpower, but you can take steps to encourage some and discourage others.

Take care!


Philosopher's profile

Nic Bommarito

SUNY Buffalo, USA

Murdoch was someone who took the idea of the Good seriously. (So seriously that it must be capitalized!) The importance of goodness in all its forms characterizes her work; it's not enough to simply theorize about it but you have to seek it and notice it. It's a reassuring thought that lurking within the messy old details of life is something absolutely perfect.

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