Katie Stockdale, Resentment and Self-Respect

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Resentment and Self-Respect

Many philosophers have defended the value of resentment to moral and political life. Resentment is thought to be a valuable expression of self-respect that stands up against moral wrongdoing and injustice. Although I have defended this conception of resentment in my own work, I’ve come to think that the emotion’s value has been overstated. Strong claims about the supposedly ‘close connection’ between resentment and self-respect can feel empowering for those of us whose lives have been marked by injustice. But they can also feel alienating to the moral agent who experiences resentment more as a destructive force in their lives than a motivating force for justice. This talk explores how we might make space for the self-respecting moral agent who does not feel resentful about wrongful acts and injustices done to them. I argue that people can have very good reasons to take a more sympathetic than resentful perspective on why people do what they do, interpreting wrongdoers’ acts to ‘mean’ much more about the wrongdoers’ attitudes toward themselves and the circumstances of their own lives than the moral worth of the people whom their actions affect.

► this event is in person at the Centre for Ethics (Larkin building, room 200).


Katie Stockdale
University of Victoria


Wed, Apr 3, 2024
04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
200 Larkin