The Errors and Limitations of Our “Anger-Evaluating” Ways

In Myisha Cherry & Owen Flanagan (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Anger. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 49-65 (2018)
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In this chapter I give an account of how our judgments of anger often play out in certain political instances. While contemporary philosophers of emotion have provided us with check box guides like “fittingness” and “size” for evaluating anger, I will argue that these guides do not by themselves help us escape the tendency to mark or unmark the boxes selectively, inconsistently, and erroneously. If anger—particularly anger in a political context—can provide information and spark positive change or political destruction, then we have moral reasons to evaluate it properly. But can we? And what are the limitations and errors we often face when evaluating anger? I will begin by laying out the ways in which we evaluate emotions and the moral and epistemic errors we attribute to the angry agent in judgments of disapproval. Then I attempt to answer the question: How do we judge political anger improperly? An improper evaluation, in my view, does not take into account relevant information that is needed to evaluate the anger. An overly generous, uninformed, biased, or selfish process of evaluation produces an improper evaluation. We see this occur when we immediately evaluate anger. I will also identify two social discursive practices of improper evaluation as well as the moral and epistemic errors committed when anger evaluators participate in these practices.



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Myisha Cherry
University of California, Riverside

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References found in this work

The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration.Peter Goldie - 2000 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The Epistemology of Resistance.José Medina - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments: The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith.Adam Smith - 1976 - Indianapolis: Oxford University Press UK. Edited by D. D. Raphael & A. L. Macfie.
Turning up the lights on gaslighting.Kate Abramson - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):1-30.

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