Resentment in Ethics and the Ethics of Resentmentº


  • Elena Colombetti Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore



resentment, ethics, freedom, truth


This contribution focuses on the issue of resentment and its place in the horizon of ethics. In the following pages, we will first analyze the position of Nietzsche and Scheler. In the specificity of their respective theoretical systems, they present a negative view of of resentment as impotent and masked hatred. Outlining the phenomenology of resentment, we will retrace the way (which is however not free from some critical issues) they explain how resentment can give rise to distorted ethics. Eventually, we will highlight the positive need for truth and the commitment of freedom within that context. Améry is in a very different position. He proposes resentment not as a generator of ethics but rather as a fruit of it, so much so that he speaks of a real moral, political, and historical duty to remain in it. Even if in a profoundly pessimistic anthropological framework, which gives little trust to human freedom, the intentional value of resentment emerges strongly in his pages, and contains a claim to truth often disowned. We can also find, on this background, the unavoidable relational dimension of the moral subject. Alongside these positions, we will explore a third case of resentment, as to re-feel. After outlining its features, we will recover some elements highlighted by the authors previously cited in a different theoretical framework. The proposal is that where re-feeling is a possible condition of experience, it is possible to relocate it into the search for a good life and outline some ethics elements “in” resentment.





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