Fortunes-of-others emotions and justice

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Despite the resurgent interest in the emotions, not much attention has focused specifically on those emotions that relate to others' deserved or undeserved fortunes. In this essay, I explore such emotions, logically and morally, with special emphasis on indignation and Schadenfreude. I argue that, when Aristotle's treatment of this family of emotions is stripped of certain anomalies, it gives a logically satisfying and morally suggestive, if perhaps overly rigid, account of all the relevant emotions and their relations. I use those insights to challenge some recent accounts of Schadenfreude and to focus instead on pleasure at deserved bad fortune as satisfied indignation. Furthermore, I suggest that the proper experience of fortunes-of-others emotions lays the ground for justice as a personal virtue, a virtue which, in turn, is required for full-scale social justice.

Bibliographic note

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-128
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Philosophical Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003