Hypatia 32 (2):363-379 (2017)

Katie Stockdale
University of Victoria
In this article, I defend a conception of bitterness as a moral emotion and offer an evaluative framework for assessing when instances of bitterness are morally justified. I argue that bitterness is a form of unresolved anger involving a loss of hope that an injustice or other moral wrong will be sufficiently acknowledged and addressed. Orienting the discussion around instances of bitterness in response to social and political injustices, I argue that bitterness is sometimes morally justified even if it is ultimately undesirable to bear. I then suggest that focusing only on the harms and risks of bitterness can distract from its positive role as a moral reminder about a past or persistent injustice, indicating that there is still moral and often political work left to do. Finally, I address the concern that bearing bitterness may lead to despair and inaction. I respond by arguing that moral agents can and do persist in their moral and political struggles with bitterness, and without hope that their efforts will be successful.
Keywords emotion  anger  bitterness  feminism  moral psychology  anger
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DOI 10.1111/hypa.12314
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References found in this work BETA

Love and Knowledge: Emotion in Feminist Epistemology.Alison M. Jaggar - 1989 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):151 – 176.
The Value of Hope.Luc Bovens - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (3):667-681.
Collective Resentment.Katie Stockdale - 2013 - Social Theory and Practice 39 (3):501-521.
Expecting Bad Luck.Lisa Tessman - 2009 - Hypatia 24 (1):9-28.

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Finding Hope.Michael Milona - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (5):710-729.

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