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The Aptness of Anger

Srinivasan, A; (2017) The Aptness of Anger. Journal of Political Philosophy 10.1111/jopp.12130. Green open access

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Abstract

ABSTRACT: A long philosophical and political tradition holds that victims of injustice ought not get angry because doing so would be counterproductive. But this tradition neglects the possibility that anger might be counterproductive and yet apt. What ought a victim of injustice do when her anger would worsen her situation but nonetheless be a fitting response to the state of the world? Here reasons of prudence and reasons of aptness come apart, generating, I argue, a substantive normative conflict. Two things, I suggest, follow. First, the counterproductivity critic faces the burden of explaining why, in such conflicts, prudential considerations trump considerations of aptness; until this burden is met, there is no obvious inference to be made from the counterproductivity of one’s anger to an all-things-considered prohibition on one’s getting angry. Second, it’s plausible that such conflicts – where victims of oppression must choose between getting aptly angry or acting prudentially – themselves constitute a form of unrecognised injustice, what I call affective injustice. I conclude by discussing the prospects for alleviating affective injustice in the political sphere, and offering a diagnosis of our reluctance to make room, in our politics, for anger.

Type: Article
Title: The Aptness of Anger
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/jopp.12130
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopp.12130
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1542193
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