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Review of Philosophy and Psychology

Hostile emotions

Vol. 12

Edited by

Thiemo Breyer

Deadline: Saturday 31st October 2020

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the relevance of emotions for public debate, ideological attitudes, and the relationships between politics, the media, and claims to truth. Under the catchword of “postfacticity”, a way of thinking and acting in which emotional dispositions more than verifiable facts are the focus of politics has been critically discussed. Collective temperaments and individual articulations of discomfort, particularly through expressions of anger and rage, can be found in all kinds of media outlets. The social mechanisms underlying these phenomena call for an investigation of their emotional foundations and implications on the part of philosophers and psychologists. The spectrum of such research concerns existential conditions and inter-group  attitudes: The forces that unite feelings such as love, compassion, and sympathy open up the prospect of living together in solidarity. On the other hand, anger, hatred, disgust, fear, and aversion can lead to aggressive self-assertion and the violent exclusion of supposed “others”. While research on what is often called “political emotions” has produced a considerable literature in philosophy, sociology, political science, and history in recent years, the descriptive and conceptual clarification of the group of aversive other-directed emotions remains an important desideratum, and the psychological processes structuring these collective states remain insufficiently understood. What they have in common is a genuine hostility and a characteristic of creating or reinforcing boundaries between in-groups and out-groups. But what exactly are “hostile emotions”? The label encompasses emotions such as antipathy, envy, ressentiment, disgust, hatred, and contempt, which for themselves and in combination form complex personal and collective attitudes and influence our relationships with others. The aim of the special issue is to bring together approaches from philosophy and psychology to elucidate the conceptual issues and empirical findings concerning these particular emotions. Contributions from a broad range of perspective such as philosophy of mind, phenomenology, experimental psychology, social psychology, and political theory are welcome.


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