Arendt on Resentment: Articulating Intersubjectivity

Journal of Speculative Philosophy 29 (3):283-290 (2015)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT This article develops an Arendtian conception of resentment and shows that resentment as a response to injustice is in fact only possible within a community of persons engaged in moral and recognitive relations. While Arendt is better known for her work on forgiveness—characterized as a creative rather than vindictive response to injury—this article suggests that Arendt provides a unique way of thinking about resentment as essentially a response to another human's subjectivity. But when injury is massive, so beyond the pale that the possibility of face-to-face human interaction is annihilated, the space for resentment is thereby destroyed. Ironically, while the absence of resentment might at first seem to be an unproblematically good thing, Arendt shows us that the loss of resentment actually signals the loss of the properly human realm.

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