The Philosophy of Envy
Associate Professor of Philosophy Sara Protasi will be discussing her book The Philosophy of Envy (Cambridge University Press, 2021; paperback 2022).
About the Book
Envy is universally condemned and feared. But is its bad reputation always warranted? Protasi argues that envy's nature is more multifaceted than it has hitherto been recognized, and that some varieties of envy can be productive and even virtuous. Protasi brings together empirical evidence and philosophical research to generate a novel view according to which there are four kinds of envy: emulative, inert, aggressive, and spiteful. For each kind, she individuates different situational antecedents, phenomenological expressions, motivational tendencies, and behavioral outputs. She then develops the normative implications of this taxonomy from a moral and prudential perspective, in the domain of personal loving relationships, and in the political sphere. A historical appendix completes the book. Through a careful and comprehensive investigation of envy's complexity, and its multifarious implications for human relations and human value, The Philosophy of Envy surprisingly reveals that envy plays a crucial role in safeguarding our happiness.