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Authors: Vaidyanathan, Aarthy
Advisors: Rosen, Gideon A
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: anger
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Anger that includes a desire for its target’s suffering seems intelligible even though suf-fering as such seems intrinsically undesirable. In this dissertation, I develop accounts of the appeal (or the apparent desirability) of the target’s suffering for the angry person in personal, sociopolitical, and moral contexts. In Chapter 1, ‘The Intelligibility of Vengeful Anger,’ I explain the intelligibility of a familiar and important form of personal anger that available explanations of anger’s in-telligibility (in terms of honor or morality) cannot accommodate. This is the anger of Achilles towards Hector in the Iliad in response to Hector’s killing of Patroclus. I suggest that the apparently desirable end that explains the intelligibility of vengeful anger is the end of making the injury to the victim significant for the perpetrator in the way that it is significant for the victim. The appeal of vengeance, so understood, is that of mattering in the perpetrator’s life. In Chapter 2, ‘Anger, Honor, and Strength,’ I explain how anger that seeks to de-fend the victim’s honor in the face of insult can seem to manifest strength when we un-derstand the angry person’s desire for retaliation in terms of the sociopolitical good of non-domination. The angry person wishes to prevent the perpetrator’s action from dominating the victim, and this seems to require forcing the perpetrator’s action to track the victim’s views on behalf of the victim. The appeal of retaliation is that it can accom-plish this by making the perpetrator’s action practically regrettable for them. In Chapter 3, ‘Indignation and the Appeal of Retribution,’ I articulate an account of the appeal of retribution in terms of rectifying moral injury, where moral injury consists in the damage to the victim’s moral significance in the wrongdoer’s life and is constitut-ed by the wrongful action itself. Retribution seeks to limit the wrongdoer’s flourishing in order to make up for the wrongdoer’s failure to constrain the pursuit of his ends in ac-cord with the victim’s moral status, therein rectifying the damage to the victim’s moral significance in the wrongdoer’s life.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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