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Martha Nussbaum: Anger and forgiveness: resentment, generosity, justice

Oxford University Press, New York, 2016, xii + 315 pp, $24.95
  • Gordon PettitEmail author
Book Review
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In Anger and Forgiveness, Martha Nussbaum provides what one would expect: a philosophical analysis of anger and forgiveness. The main thesis of the book is that anger is morally problematic, because conceptually, anger includes a desire for harm and a belief that it would be good for the wrongdoer to suffer harm. These beliefs and desires are inseparable components of anger, so that potentially positive aspects of anger, such as providing a motivation for improvement of a situation, indicating that wrongdoing has occurred, or producing a deterrent from future harms, are limited and do not negate anger’s inherent desire for suffering and corresponding belief that the suffering would be good.

Nussbaum provides the primary conceptual analysis of anger in Chapter 2. In addition to the inherent moral problems associated with anger, Nussbaum argues that anger is irrational, since harm to others will not alleviate the suffering that prompted the anger. One exception to the irrationality of...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and PhilosophyWestern Illinois UniversityMacombUSA

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