Insults are part of the fabric of daily life. Other people inflict them on us, sometimes blatantly but more often subtly. On some occasions, we are delighted to be on the receiving end of these insults: when the members of a group we have joined start playfully teasing us, for example, it can be a sign of acceptance into the group. On other occasions, though, an insult can cause us pain so intense that even years later, we will find ourselves experiencing insult flashbacks. We are alsothe source of insults. Some of them are consciously inflicted, but many more are sufficiently subtle that we will not recognize them for what they are unless we replay conversations in our head and try to fathom our motives for having said the things we said. Do this, and we might be astonished by our tendency, in casual conversation, to put people into what we regard as their proper place - namely, somewhere below us on the social hierarchy. In A Slap in the Face, William B. Irvine undertakes a wide-ranging investigation of insults, their history, the role they play in social relationships, and the science behind them. He offers advice, based primarily on the writings of the Stoic philosophers, on how best to curb our own insulting tendencies and how best to respond to the insults that are directed our way.
About the Author:
William B. Irvine is Professor of Philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He describes himself as a twenty-first century Stoic and is author of A Guide to the Good Life: the Ancient Art of Stoic Joy and On Desire .