No. 11 (2016): Emotions, Normativity, and Social Life
Session 1. Theories of Emotions

A Naturalist View of Humiliation

Published January 4, 2017
  • naturalism,
  • humiliation,
  • embarrassment,
  • social pain
How to Cite
Berkovski, S. (2017). A Naturalist View of Humiliation. Phenomenology and Mind, (11), 78-86.


A naturalist analysis of humiliation begins with the notion of social interaction, a public encounter with other people. Interactions are an essential element in cooperation, a vital condition of survival and well-being. In the course of interaction the person presents himself as someone possessing the qualities necessary for successful cooperation. An act of humiliation is designed to inflict damage on the agent’s self-presentation. Any such damage would be a sign that the agent is not successful in conducting the given interaction. Such damage would tend to decrease of cooperative value of the humiliated individual and to decrease his chances of survival and reproduction.


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