The Morality of Achilles: Anger as A Moral Emotion

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Anger is central to moral and legal decision-making. Angry individuals reason differently than people in a temperate state. Aristotle and the ancient Greeks understood anger’s practical role in forensic argument and moral judgment—an intuition modern psychologists have largely confirmed. Psychological experiments show that people primed to anger will draw different inferences than people in a tranquil state of mind from the same factual circumstances. As Aristotle understood, our ability to reach conclusions about a set of facts is influenced by emotional processes such as anger. This article analyzes competing views of anger in contemporary moral philosophy. It uses cross-cutting psychological, biological, sociological, anthropological, historical and philosophical arguments about the experience and expression of anger to critically assess leading philosophical accounts of the role of anger in moral and judicial decision making.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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