What Is Anger?

Anger seems to listen to argument to some extent, but to mishear it, as do hasty servants who run out before they have heard the whole of what one says, and then muddle the order, or as dogs bark if there is but a knock at the door, before looking to see if it is a friend; so anger by reason of the warmth and hastiness of its nature, though it hears, does not hear an order, and springs to take revenge. For argument or imagination informs us that we have been insulted or slighted, and anger, reasoning as it were that anything like this must be fought against, boils up straightaway.

- Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, 1149a25

Podcast of the Day

Anyone can get angry, that’s easy. But hitting the right target with the right amount—that’s devilishly hard, or so thought Aristotle. And is it worth bother? Some political philosophers see anger as a sign of moral seriousness, yet appealing to people’s sense of outrage can be a serious political misstep. Martha Nussbaum is on the case of anger—its uses and abuses—and her conclusion is rather startling, not the least for its elegant simplicity.

Listen to Martha Nussbaum on the Limits of Anger

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

...A lot of anger about lately, is what I'm saying. If it were a liquid we'd be piling sandbags against our doors. But where does it all come from? And why is it so often directed at bizarre targets?

Psychologically, it's a complex subject (as many emotions tend to be). Aggression (in humans) is defined by Anderson and Bushman as "any behaviour directed toward another individual that is carried out with the proximate (immediate) intent to cause harm. In addition, the perpetrator must believe the behaviour will cause harm and that the target is motivated to avoid the behaviour"...

Continue reading Dean Burnett's article: Screw you! The psychology of anger and aggression

Further Reading

Anger or wrath is an intense emotional response. It is an emotion that involves a strong uncomfortable and hostile response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat. Anger can occur when a person feels their personal boundaries are being or are going to be violated. Some have a learned tendency to react to anger through retaliation as a way of coping. Raymond Novaco of University of California Irvine, who since 1975 has published a plethora of literature on the subject, stratified anger into three modalities: cognitive (appraisals), somatic-affective (tension and agitations), and behavioral (withdrawal and antagonism). William DeFoore, an anger-management writer, described anger as a pressure cooker: we can only apply pressure against our anger for a certain amount of time until it explodes.

Continue reading the Wikipedia article on Anger

Related Topics

CourageGreedGuiltHateHuman NatureMindfulnessMoral Psychology | Punishment | Violence

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