Volume 20, Issue 1, Spring 2006
The Rights and Wrongs of Rudeness
Rudeness is normally viewed as a moral failing, but there are times when it is excusable or even justified. In this article I propose a definition of the concept that helps us ascertain whether, why, and to what extent a rude action is blameworthy or excusable. I consider the most common sorts of circumstance in which rudeness is morally acceptable, and I argue that the perceived increase in rudeness is, in large part, a consequence of our living in a dynamic society where egalitarian attitudes challenge established hierarchies.