Cover: On Betrayal, from Harvard University PressCover: On Betrayal in HARDCOVER

On Betrayal

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674048263

Publication Date: 02/06/2017

Trade

352 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

World

Adultery, treason, and apostasy no longer carry the weight they once did. Yet we constantly see and hear stories of betrayal, and many people have personally experienced a destructive breach of loyalty. Avishai Margalit argues that the tension between the ubiquity of betrayal and the loosening of its hold is a sign of the strain between ethics and morality, between thick and thin human relations. On Betrayal offers a philosophical account of thick human relations—relationships with friends, family, and core communities—through their pathology, betrayal.

Judgments of betrayal often shift unreliably. A whistle-blower to some is a backstabber to others; a traitor to one side is a hero to the other. Yet the notion of what it means to betray is remarkably consistent across cultures and eras. Betrayal undermines thick trust, dissolving the glue that holds our most meaningful relationships together. Recently, public attention has lingered on trust between strangers—on relations that play a central role in the globalized economy. These, according to Margalit, are guided by morality. On Betrayal is about ethics: what we owe to the people and groups that give us our sense of belonging.

Margalit’s clear-sighted account draws on literary, historical, and personal sources, including stories from his childhood during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Through its discussion of betrayal, it examines what our thick relationships are and should be and revives the long-discarded notion of fraternity.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Strategy of Conflict, by Thomas C. Schelling, from Harvard University Press

Schelling the Trailblazer

Books influence us in untold ways, and the ones that influence us the most are often read in childhood. Harvard University Press Senior Editor Julia Kirby is reminded of this on the anniversary of the birth of one of this country’s most celebrated economists. This month would have brought Thomas Schelling’s one-hundredth birthday—and he got closer to seeing it than many mortals. The Nobel laureate economist died just five years ago, after a brilliant career as both a scholar and an advisor to US foreign policy strategists. What better day to dip into his classic work