The defining question of modern times answered.
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.
About the Author
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.
Praise for "Assholes: A Theory"
A "New York Times" bestseller!
"James neatly does what philosophers must do: he defines his terms, organizes and codifies, declares his own loyalties; he locates himself on the spectrum of assholery and suggest origins both psychological and sociological. The result is a delightful combination of the demotic and the technical."--Jane Smiley, "Harper's Magazine
"James' research is both thorough and imaginative; his impressive source list ranges from obscure philosophy books to popular websites to Rudyard Kipling to Kanye West, hip-hop's greatest asshole. The author's enthusiasm for the subject makes it possible to get through the book quickly.... [T]here are moments of great insight and outright hilarity."--"Kirkus Reviews
"James's volume is equal parts philosophical meditation and historical survey, but its true value lies in his attempt to precisely define the term."--Joe Keohane, "New York Magazine"
"Aaron James provides us with a delightful philosophical romp through the world of assholes. I was especially tickled by his analysis of different types: smug assholes, royal assholes, the presidential asshole, corporate assholes, the reckless assholes, to name a few."
--Robert I. Sutton, Stanford professor and author of the "New York Times" bestsellers "The No Asshole Rule" and "Good Boss, Bad Boss"
"Aaron James explores a very rude term that many now find unavoidable in the description of an alarming human type. His witty and accessible study of the personal and social problems the asshole creates draws on his lucid and brilliant accounts of the best in contemporary moral and political philosophy. James's analysis of asshole capitalism is a tour de force of philosophically astute political analysis and criticism. This is a book that should appeal equally to the general reader and the philosophical specialist."
--Marshall Cohen, founding editor of "Philosoph
Number Of Pages: 221
Published: 30th October 2012
Dimensions (cm): 18.3 x 13.5 x 2.8
Weight (kg): 0.32