Passionate Speech: On the Uses and Abuses of Anger in Public Debate

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Anger dominates debates in the public sphere. In this article I argue that there are diverse forms of anger that merit different responses. My focus is especially on two types of anger that I label respectively arrogant and resistant. The first is the characteristic defensive response of those who unwarrantedly arrogate special privileges for themselves. The second is often a source of insight and a form of moral address. I detail some discursive manifestations of these two types of anger. I show that arrogant anger is responsible for attempts to intimidate and humiliate others with whom one disagrees. Whilst resistant anger can be intimidating, it is also essential in communicating moral demands.
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Archival date: 2021-06-10
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