Not Far from the Kingdom: Martha Nussbaum on Anger and Forgiveness

Journal of Religious Ethics 46 (4):749-770 (2018)
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In Anger and Forgiveness, Martha Nussbaum offers a magisterial brief against what she calls “retribution” and “garden‐variety anger.” She does not write as a Christian, but there is much for a Christian ethicist to admire in her learned and creative treatment of moral emotion, including her defense of generosity. Professor Nussbaum is not far from the kingdom of God. I argue, nevertheless, that she blurs or erodes four important distinctions, between justice and love, anger and hatred, retribution and revenge, and utility and sanctity. The upshot is that her call for compassion degenerates into injustice. To justify this appraisal, I lay out Nussbaum’s normative case, identify three major theoretical difficulties with that case, examine briefly the teachings of Socrates and Jesus in relation to revolutionary justice, then note an admitted complexity.



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You Deserve to Suffer for What You Did.Diana Fritz Cates - 2018 - Journal of Religious Ethics 46 (4):771-782.

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References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Practical philosophy.Immanuel Kant - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mary J. Gregor.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - In Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37-108.
The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics.Martha C. Nussbaum - 1996 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 50 (4):646-650.

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