Mind:fzab006 (forthcoming)

Samuel Reis-Dennis
Albany Medical College
I 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.
Keywords blame  resentment  anger  moral responsibility  fittingness
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzab006
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Responsibility From the Margins.David Shoemaker - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
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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