The Uses and Abuses of Self-love

The Uses and Abuses of Self-love


by Simon Blackburn

Princeton University Press (Footprint) $42.95 pb, 213 pp, 9780691161426

Everyone knows the emotions of self-concern – self-esteem, pride, vanity, self-respect – and associated character traits ­– authenticity, arrogance, humility, and the like. Yet as soon as we start to think seriously about them and the roles they play in personal and social life, they tantalise with their ambiguities and their resistance to easy definition. Some forms of self-concern, such as arrogance and hubris, are disagreeable. Yet others, such as self-respect, seem desirable. Why? And what is self-respect exactly, anyway? How much do these various emotions and dispositions contribute to (or detract from) a good or decent life?

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Published in May 2014, no. 361

Tim Oakley

Tim Oakley lectured in many areas of philosophy at La Trobe University, and is now an honorary associate in the Philosophy Program.