Brain Candy Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Contributors | September 15, 2015

    Mary Karr: IMG Memoir Tutorials with Mary Karr, Lena Dunham, and Gary Shteyngart

    Editor's note: It's been 20 years since the groundbreaking memoir The Liars' Club sent Mary Karr into the literary spotlight with its phenomenal... Continue »
    1. $17.49 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      The Art of Memoir

      Mary Karr 9780062223067

Qualifying orders ship free.
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside Self Help- Communication

More copies of this ISBN

Sticks and Stones: The Philosophy of Insults


Sticks and Stones: The Philosophy of Insults Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." This schoolyard rhyme projects an invulnerability to verbal insults that sounds good but rings false. Indeed, the need for such a verse belies its own claims. For most of us, feeling insulted is a distressing-and distressingly common-experience.

In Sticks and Stones, philosopher Jerome Neu probes the nature, purpose, and effects of insults, exploring how and why they humiliate, embarrass, infuriate, and wound us so deeply. What kind of injury is an insult? Is it determined by the insulter or the insulted? What does it reveal about the character of both parties as well as the character of society and its conventions? What role does insult play in social and legal life? When is telling the truth an insult? Neu draws upon a wealth of examples and anecdotes-as well as a range of views from Aristotle and Oliver Wendell Holmes to Oscar Wilde, John Wayne, Katherine Hepburn, and many others-to provide surprising answers to these questions. He shows that what we find insulting can reveal much about our ideas of character, honor, gender, the nature of speech acts, and social and legal conventions. He considers how insults, both intentional and unintentional, make themselves felt-in play, Freudian slips, insult humor, rituals, blasphemy, libel, slander, and hate speech. And he investigates the insult's extraordinary power, why it can so quickly destabilize our sense of self and threaten our moral identity, the very center of our self-respect and self-esteem.

Entertaining, humorous, and deeply insightful, Sticks and Stones unpacks the fascinating dynamics of a phenomenon more often painfully experienced than clearly understood.

About the Author

Jerome Neu is Professor of Humanities at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the author of A Tear is an Intellectual Thing (OUP 1999). He lives in Capitola, California.

Table of Contents

1. On Feeling Insulted

2. Honor: Slaps and Swords

3. Insult in Play and Ritual

4. Assault from the Rear

5. The Language of Abuse

6. Insult in the Law: Fighting Words, Obscenity, and Hate Speech

7. Insult in the Law: Libel and Slander

8. Insult in the Law: Blasphemy

9. Insult Humor

10. To Understand All Is to Forgive All--Or Is It?

Product Details

Neu, Jerome
Oxford University Press, USA
null, Jerome
Mind & Body
Philosophy -- Language.
Philosophy : General
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
5.7 x 8.3 x 0.9 in 1 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Sight-Sound-Motion: Applied Media... Used Hardcover $5.50
  2. The Norton Anthology of American... Used Trade Paper $4.50
  3. Home
    Used Trade Paper $8.00
  4. Europa, Europa New Trade Paper $18.95
  5. The French Revolution and Human... Used Trade Paper $17.00

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Communication
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
Humanities » Philosophy » General

Sticks and Stones: The Philosophy of Insults Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195314311 Reviews:
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at