Mind 130 (520):1233-1251 (2021)
AbstractI argue that fitting resentment tracks unacceptable ‘ecological’ imbalances in relative social strength between victims and perpetrators that arise from violations of legitimate moral expectations. It does not respond purely, or even primarily, to offenders’ attitudes, and its proper targets need not be fully developed moral agents. It characteristically involves a wish for the restoration of social equilibrium rather than a demand for moral recognition or good will. To illuminate these contentions, I focus on cases that I believe demonstrate a corollary thesis, namely, that strength, broadly construed, is a necessary condition of resentment-worthiness. I argue that weakness can make resentment unfitting in two ways. First, weakness may prevent a wrongdoer from shifting the balance of social power. Second, a weak wrongdoer may do social damage but be so lowly that resentment, which would represent him as excessively strong, would be inapt. Finally, I consider how accepting the ecological view might affect our theorizing about moral responsibility and the ethics of blame.
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1. Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - In John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (eds.), Perspectives on Moral Responsibility. Cornell University Press. pp. 1-25.
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