Can it Be or Feel Right to Hate? On the Appropriateness and Fittingness of Hatred


  • Thomas Szanto Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen



hatred, moral hatred, morality of emotions, antagonistic emotions, reality of evil, dehumanization, emotional fittingness, theory of values, affective intentionality, corporate and group agents


What exactly is wrong with hating others? However deep-seated the intuition, when it comes to spelling out the reasons for why hatred is inappropriate, the literature is rather meager and confusing. In this paper, I attempt to be more precise by distinguishing two senses in which hatred is inappropriate, a moral and a non-moral one. First, I critically discuss the central current proposals defending the possibility of morally appropriate hatred in the face of serious wrongs or evil perpetrators and show that they are all based on a problematic assumption, which I call the ‘reality of evil agents assumption’. I then turn to the issue of non-moral emotional appropriateness and sketch a novel, focus-based account of fittingness. Next, I outline the distinctive affective intentionality of hatred, suggesting that hatred, unlike most other antagonistic emotions, has an overgeneralizing and indeterminate affective focus. Against this background, I argue that hatred cannot be fitting. Due to the indeterminacy of its focus, hatred fails to pick out those evaluative features of the intentional object that would really matter to the emoters. I close with some tentative remarks on the possibility of appropriate hatred towards corporate or group agents. 


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How to Cite

Szanto, T. (2021) “Can it Be or Feel Right to Hate? On the Appropriateness and Fittingness of Hatred”, Filozofija i društvo/Philosophy and Society. Belgrade, Serbia, 32(3), pp. 341–368. doi: 10.2298/FID2103341S.