The Existential Logic of Scapegoating

My longtime companion & I are reading David Hume together right now. I have so enjoyed dipping back into his viewpoint and seeing how much his work influenced my entire professional vocation as a philosopher. I think the influence has been most direct in my human relationships.

How do we speak in the fullest communication with those we work with, befriend, or simply know as acquaintances when our intersecting actions seem to be creating conflict? How do we philosophize the proper communication wherein speaking opens up rather than closes down? I think these are the issues that Hume is really struggling with: trying to comprehend how we find ourselves in the world of nature and the history of humanity such that we can discover the best possible path to the good life together.

Scapegoat: A History of Blaming Other People by Charlie Campbell is intriguing to me insofar as it seems to be riffing off of a Humean framework. The link below is an exert of a chapter at

In the twenty-first century, we are faced with more choice than ever before – in what we believe, in what we eat, in everything we do. Similarly we have a greater range of things to blame when things go wrong. Whereas our ancestors had to content themselves with the perennial scapegoats – namely women, Jews and certain animals – we are able to apportion blame in ever more imaginative ways for the aspects of our lives and ourselves that disappoint us. The one thing we will not do under any circumstances is accept ourselves as we are. We prefer to find an explanation for why things are not perfect, and these rarely stand up to close scrutiny.

The thrill of blaming others – Psychology –

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One Response to The Existential Logic of Scapegoating

  1. Keith Brown says:


    “Sometimes, when your action or motives for the action are questioned, you need to explain the reasons for your action. Interpersonal attributions happen when the causes of the events involve two or more individuals. More specifically, you will always want to present yourself in the most positive light in interpersonal attributions…”

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