Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Salice, Alessandro; Montes Sánchez, Alba
European Journal of Philosophy
Envy and us
Optional Fields
Envy Self-conscious emotions Social emotions Group identification
Within emotion theory, envy is generally portrayed as an antisocial emotion because the relation between the envier and the rival is thought to be purely antagonistic. This paper resists this view by arguing that envy presupposes a sense of us. First, we claim that hostile envy is triggered by the envier's sense of impotence combined with her perception that an equality principle has been violated. Second, we introduce the notion of “hetero-induced self-conscious emotions” by focusing on the paradigmatic cases of being ashamed or proud of somebody else. We describe envy as a hetero-induced self-conscious emotion by arguing (a) that the impotence felt by the subject grounds the emotion's self-reflexivity and (b) that the rival impacts the subject's self-assessment because the rival is framed by the subject as an in-group member. Finally, we elaborate on the asset at stake in envy. We contend that this is esteem recognition: The envier covets the esteem that her reference group accords to the rival. Because, in envy, the subject conceives of herself as member of a group to which the other is also understood to belong, we conclude that envy is a social emotion insofar as it presupposes a sense of us.
Grant Details