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Anger and Forgiveness
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Anger is not just ubiquitous, it is also popular. Many people think it is impossible to care sufficiently for justice without anger at injustice. Many believe that it is impossible for individuals to vindicate their own self-respect or to move beyond an injury without anger. To not feel anger in those cases would be considered suspect. Is this how we should think about anger, or is anger above all a disease, deforming both the personal and the political?In this wide-ranging book, Martha C. Nussbaum, one of our leading public intellectuals, argues that anger is conceptually confused and normatively pernicious. It assumes that the suffering of the wrongdoer restores the thing that was damaged, and it betrays an all-too-lively interest in relative status and humiliation. Studying anger in intimate relationships, casual daily interactions, the workplace, the criminal justice system, and movements for social transformation, Nussbaum shows that anger's core ideas are both infantile and harmful. Is forgiveness the best way of transcending anger? Nussbaum examines different conceptions of this much-sentimentalized notion, both in the Jewish and Christian traditions and in secular morality. Some forms of forgiveness are ethically promising, she claims, but others are subtle allies of retribution: those that exact a performance of contrition and abasement as a condition of waiving angry feelings. In general, she argues, a spirit of generosity (combined, in some cases, with a reliance on impartial welfare-oriented legal institutions) is the best way to respond to injury. Applied to the personal and the political realms, Nussbaum's profoundly insightful and erudite view of anger and forgiveness puts both in a startling new light.
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Table of Contents

I. Introduction: Furies into Eumenides II. Anger: Weakness, Payback, Down-ranking III. Forgiveness: A Genealogy Appendix: Dies Irae IV. Intimate Relationships: The Trap of Anger V. The Middle Realm: Stoicism Qualified VI. The Political Realm: Everyday Justice VII. The Political Realm: Revolutionary Justice Appendix A: Emotions and Upheavals of Thought Appendix B: Anger and Blame Appendix C: Anger and its Species

About the Author

Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, appointed in the Law School, the Philosophy Department, and the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. Author of OUP titles Love's Knowledge, Sex and Social Justice, Philosophical Interventions; others; as well as Not for Profit (Princeton 2010), Upheavals of Thought (CUP 2003), Creating Capabilities (Harvard 2011), Frontiers of Justice (Harvard 2010), among others.

Reviews

Nussbaum is a connoisseur of emotions * VN * Shame on us for accepting anger and good on Nussbaum for calling us out. * Alice Bloch, New Humanist * Nussbaum is one of the most productive and insightful thinkers of her generation ... She combines a philosopher's demand for conceptual clarity and rigorous thinking with a novelist's interest in narrative, art and literature. The result is an impressive body of work spanning the overlapping territories of politics, ethics and the emotions. * Julian Baginni, Prospect * Quite aside from any polemic, ethically, Nussbaum's book helps reader to discern between populism in penology, and a theory of anger which leads to further understanding. * Maximiliano E. Korstanje, International Journal of Human Rights and Constitutional Studies * A very impressive, wide-ranging, much reflected-upon work of moral and political philosophy * Trevor Pateman, Philosophy Now * A timely meditation on the place of anger in our private and public lives... [Nussbaum's] writing, as always, is erudite and engaging, and she uses it to craft a sharp lens through which students of politics can interpret current events. * Dan Degerman, Contemporary Political Theory * The book is deeply thought-provoking and persuasive. * Stuart Jesson (York St John University), Studies in Christian Ethics * In all, the work provides a key philosophical addition to her volumes on emotional development and political liberal justice... Her strict focus on leadership pronouncements rather than de facto psychological and sociological dynamics opens the analysis to charges of empirically inattentive moralizing. * Steven Schoonover, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities * In all, the work provides a key philosophical addition to her volumes on emotional development and political liberal justice... Her strict focus on leadership pronouncements rather than de facto psychological and sociological dynamics opens the analysis to charges of empirically inattentive moralizing.

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