When Bad Things Happen to Other People

Routledge (2000)
Although many of us deny it, it is not uncommon to feel pleasure over the suffering of others, particularly when we feel that suffering has been deserved. The German word for this concept- Schadenfreude -has become universal in its expression of this feeling. Drawing on the teachings of history's most prominent philosophers, John Portmann explores the concept of Schadenfreude in this rigorous, comprehensive, and absorbing study. Citing examples from literature and popular culture-from the works of Toni Morrison, Umberto Eco and Baudelaire to physical comedy and cartoons-Portmann lays bare an important distinction in our understanding of Schadenfreude , the difference between taking pleasure in the suffering of others and relishing the execution of justice. His study of Schadenfreude contrasts Kant and Schopenhauer's rejection of the concept to Nietschze's and Freud's embrace of this all-too-human tendency. Most importantly, he confronts the debates over institutional punishment, violence in our culture, and our current hunger for media images of punishment and betrayal. Almost encyclopedic in its survey of scholarship on understanding and evaluating Schadenfreude , this groundbreaking and highly accessible examination of a neglected topic will make a vital contribution to the study of human ethics, as it compels us to reexamine our own feelings about suffering, sympathy, and the morality of justice.
Keywords Suffering Moral and ethical aspects  Pleasure Moral and ethical aspects  Sympathy Moral and ethical aspects
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Call number BJ1409.P67 2000
ISBN(s) 9780415923347   0415923344  
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Marguerite La Caze (2001). Envy and Resentment. Philosophical Explorations 4 (1):31 – 45.
Kristján Kristjánsson (2003). On the Very Idea of "Negative Emotions". Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 33 (4):351–364.

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