Is "provocative" a compliment?
By Amy Willis
What makes you angry? How do you feel about yourself when it happens? If you’re like EconTalk host Russ Roberts, you might feel like being angry is synonymous with a loss of control, or at least something you should learn how to control.
Not so fast. In this episode, Roberts welcomes back philosopher Agnes Callard to talk about anger. Callard argues that anger is a moral sense. Anger is not just what we don’t like, but a principled response to perceived injustice. Anger is an important part of moral education, and has a unique normative structure.
What influence has anger had on your life- has it been as, well, positive, as it might be in Callard’s outlook? What was your biggest take-away from this conversation, and how might it affect the way you respond to anger in the future? Let us hear your thoughts, and let’s continue the conversation.
1- What does Callard mean when she says there’s something divine about anger? On the other hand, when is anger idolatry?
2- How is anger as Callard describes it related to her notion of aspiration? How ought we to think about anger with respect to out relations with others?
3- Why does Callard believe one should never aim for revenge? What does she mean when she says that “the process of managing anger is really the process of restoring the relationship, and thereby the norm, to its healed positive state”?
4- How are anger and provocation related? Isn’t the job of the philosopher, as Roberts suggests, to provoke? How can (or should) one be provocative so as not to elicit anger?
5- Roberts describes how he typically reacts when a fellow guest at a dinner party expresses their support for a higher minimum wage. How does Callard advise Russ to respond instead? What should he take from such an interaction in lieu of anger? Have you had an analogous experience? How did you react, and how might you now react differently?