Some Remarks on Unfocused Hatred: Identity of the Hated One and Criteria of Adequacy
Keywords:hatred, identity, fittingness, criteria of adequacy, appropriateness, emotions
Thomas Szanto has recently argued that hatred could not be a fitting emotion because of its blurred focus. It thus cannot trace the properties of its intentional object. Although I agree with the core of Szanto’s account, I would like to discuss two connected issues that might be of importance. First, I want to address whether the unfittingness of hatred has anything to do with the possibility that the hated person does not identify with what they are hated for. I conclude that if the focus of hatred is blurred, hatred does not trace the identification of the hated person or group. Next, I propose a possibility that (certain) criteria of adequacy of hatred (why someone is treated by members of society as hateworthy) are embedded in the cultural and social framework in such a way that they are not necessarily intelligibly justified by their relation to the focus and import it has. Under such circumstances, with hatred still being unfitting, these criteria create quasi-correctness of hatred (actually, they trace properties of someone being hateworthy). If this is correct, it will enable us to keep the thesis that hatred cannot be fitting. At the same time, we could use political vocabulary to tackle hatred that is common in cases when a group will not give up their commitment to hatred and argue that some people or group of people is not to be hated under the hating group’s own criteria.
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