Anticipatory-Vicarious Grief: The Anatomy of a Moral Emotion

The Monist 103 (2):176-189 (2020)
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Grief is often described as characterized by a particular emotional response to another person’s death. While this is true of paradigm cases, we argue that a broader notion of grief allows accommodating forms of this emotional experience that deviate from the paradigmatic case. The bulk of the paper explores such a nonparadigmatic form of grief, anticipatory-vicarious grief, which is typically triggered by pondering the inevitability of our own death. We argue that AV-grief is a particular moral emotion that serves a unique function and is indissolubly linked to the practical identities of human agents. An agent’s AV-grief is about the harm that occurs to individuals whose practical identities depend on the agent.

Author Profiles

Somogy Varga
Aarhus University
Shaun Gallagher
University of Memphis


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