Assholes: A Theory

Author(s): Aaron James

Reference | REFERENCE

What is it for someone to be an asshole? Although most of us are forced to deal with such people every day, few of us could easily say exactly what an asshole is. And as prevalent as they are, no one has offered a sustained analytical treatment of the subject. Assholes are arguably part of the human social condition, so the topic is perhaps the special provenance of philosophers. In fact, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel and Sartre have all grappled with asshole-related questions of moral status.

In the spirit of the bestselling On Bullshit, philosopher Aaron James tackles the subject of assholes in a philosophical - yet also humorous, entertaining and accessible - inquiry into what makes a person an asshole. The book also explores different asshole types, the roles gender, nurture, and nature play, and how best to deal with assholes in daily life. A pop-philosophy book with great potential to crossover into the gift book and humor genres, this will be an engaging mix of erudite discussion about an indelicate subject matter that naturally brings a comic flavor to the text. The bestselling success of Robert Sutton's The No Asshole Rule has made clear that people are interested in the subject. While Sutton tackles the problem from a management angle, James brings us into a broader realm of philosophical analysis. In terms of methodology, Freakonomics is another good comparative title because it uses a serious methodology on a "small" topic of wide interest, showing that economics can be engaging and useful. James' book promises to do the same for philosophy.


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"This is a book that should appeal equally to the general reader and the philosophical specialist. James's analysis of asshole capitalism is a tour de force of philosophically astute political analysis and criticism. His witty and accessible study draws on his lucid and brilliant accounts of the best in contemporary moral and political philosophy." -Marshall Cohen, University Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

Aaron James holds a PhD from Harvard and is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. His forthcoming book on fairness is to be published by Oxford University Press. Aaron has published in several professional journals, including Philosophy and Public Affairs and Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and has given numerous lectures at universities both in the US and abroad. He was awarded the Burkhardt fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, spending the 2009-2010 academic year at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He's an avid surfer - and he's not an asshole.

General Fields

  • : 9781857885934
  • : Nicholas Brealey Publishing
  • : Nicholas Brealey Publishing
  • : August 2012
  • : United Kingdom
  • : December 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Aaron James
  • : Hardback
  • : 1
  • : 177
  • : 288