A controversial call to put honor at the center of morality
To the modern mind, the idea of honor is outdated, sexist, and barbaric. It evokes Hamilton and Burr and pistols at dawn, not visions of a well-organized society. But for philosopher Tamler Sommers, a sense of honor is essential to living moral lives. In Why Honor Matters, Sommers argues that our collective rejection of honor has come at great cost. Reliant only on Enlightenment liberalism, the United States has become the home of the cowardly, the shameless, the selfish, and the alienated. Properly channeled, honor encourages virtues like courage, integrity, and solidarity, and gives a sense of living for something larger than oneself. Sommers shows how honor can help us address some of society's most challenging problems, including education, policing, and mass incarceration. Counterintuitive and provocative, Why Honor Matters makes a convincing case for honor as a cornerstone of our modern society.
About the Author
Tamler Sommers is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Houston. He is the host of the podcast Very Bad Wizards and the author of two previous books. Sommers holds a PhD in philosophy from Duke University. He lives in Houston, Texas.
"Sommers's arguments for honor make it sound like an attractive and necessary virtue."
"Why Honor Matters positions a culture centered in honor against one that its author calls a dignity culture."—Wall Street Journal
"This is a top-notch study and a priority resource for those interested in ethics and philosophy."
"Sommers's vivid style and engaging anecdotes will appeal to general readers as well as to those interested in moral and political philosophy. It draws comparison to William Ian Miller's Eye for an Eye."—Library Journal
"A philosopher offers an impassioned... defense of honor cultures."
"Beautifully written, fiercely argued, and very timely, Why Honor Matters is really going to shake things up."—Paul Bloom, author of Against Empathy
"A funny, smart, provocative book in defense of honor--without which, says Tamler Sommers, liberal democracies become craven and selfish. A timely book for liberals and conservatives alike."
—Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer-Prize winning historian, and Professor of Practice, Institute of Global Affairs, London School of Economics
"Any defense of honor must explain what it is, acknowledging its dangers while suggesting how to mitigate them and showing the good that it can do. Tamler Sommers accomplishes all three tasks splendidly; in sparkling prose, sprinkled with everyday examples, he shows why now, as always, honor matters."
—Kwame Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy and law at NYU and author of TheHonor Code