‘I'm not envious, I'm just jealous!’: On the Difference Between Envy and Jealousy

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (3):316-333 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I argue for the view that envy and jealousy are distinct emotions, whose crucial difference is that envy involves a perception of lack while jealousy involves a perception of loss. I start by noting the common practice of using ‘envy’ and ‘jealousy’ almost interchangeably, and I contrast it with the empirical evidence that shows that envy and jealousy are distinct, albeit similar and often co-occurring, emotions. I then argue in favor of a specific way of understanding their distinction: the view that envy is a response to a perceived lack of a valuable object, while jealousy is a response to a perceived loss of a valuable object. I compare such a view with the most compelling alternative theories, and show that it accounts better for paradigmatic cases. I conclude by showing how the lack vs. loss model can handle complications: ambiguous cases, that is, when it is epistemically unclear whether one experiences lack or loss; hybrid cases, that is, when one seems to experience both lack and loss; and borderline cases, that is, when it is metaphysically unclear whether one experiences lack or loss.

Similar books and articles

Jealous thoughts.Jerome Neu - 1980 - In A. O. Rorty (ed.), Explaining Emotions. Univ of California Pr. pp. 425--463.
Jealousy in relation to envy.Luke Purshouse - 2004 - Erkenntnis 60 (2):179-205.
Moral vice, cognitive virtue.Thomas Williams - 2003 - Philosophy and Literature 27 (1):223-230.
Envy and Its Discontents.Timothy Perrine & Kevin Timpe - 2014 - In Kevin Timpe & Craig Boyd (eds.), Virtues and Their Vices. Oxford University Press. pp. 225-244.
Are envy, anger, and resentment moral emotions?Aaron Ben-Ze'ev - 2002 - Philosophical Explorations 5 (2):148 – 154.
Envy: The Seven Deadly Sins.Joseph Epstein - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Envy and Jealousy: Emotions and Vices.Gabriele Taylor - 1988 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 13 (1):233-249.
The Moral Value of Envy.Krista K. Thomason - 2015 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 53 (1):36-53.
Varieties of Envy.Sara Protasi - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):535-549.


Added to PP

2,057 (#3,728)

6 months
374 (#3,830)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Sara Protasi
University of Puget Sound

Citations of this work

Emotion.Charlie Kurth - 2022 - New York, NY: Routledge.
Ressentiment.Andrew Huddleston - 2021 - Ethics 131 (4):670-696.
Envy and us.Alessandro Salice & Alba Montes Sánchez - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (1):227-242.
Happy Self-Surrender and Unhappy Self-Assertion: A Comparison between Admiration and Emulative Envy.Sara Protasi - 2019 - In Alfred Archer & Andre Grahlé (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Admiration. New York: Rowman & Little International. pp. 45-60.
"You're Just Jealous!": On Envious Blame.Neal Tognazzini - 2022 - In Sara Protasi (ed.), The Moral Psychology of Envy. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 147-162.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Varieties of Envy.Sara Protasi - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):535-549.
The Subtlety of Emotions.[author unknown] - 2001 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 63 (4):810-811.
Deadly vices.Gabriele Taylor - 2006 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Comprehending Envy.Richard Smith & Sung Hee Kim - 2007 - Psychological Bulletin 133:46-64.

View all 21 references / Add more references