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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: February 2011

9 - Aristotle, the Stoics, and Kant on anger


This chapter considers three familiar cases of anger. The first two, of the Iranian family members and of Achilles, are cases of vengeful anger. The third case of anger is one of moral protest and outcry on behalf of others that then inspires an act of heroic courage. The chapter argues that certain forms of anger are, on a Kantian view, a morally necessary expression of our vulnerability, and takes up Aristotle, the Stoics (principally Seneca), and then Immanuel Kant. Seneca's Stoicism, as developed in On Anger, is the primary focus of the chapter. Kant takes many of his cues from the Stoics, including his famously wistful remarks about the "apathy" of the Stoic sage. The chapter sketches Kant's general view on emotions, pathological and practical, and gesture toward how we might understand the expressive function of moral anger on a Kantian view.