Abstract

One typical definition of "schadenfreude" is:  

"a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people”.  The word definitely picks out a distinctive moral emotion. In this paper I set out to do four things.  My first aim in this paper is to provide an account of what schadenfreude is in such a way as to distinguish it from other moral emotions.  The second is to come up with success or aptness conditions for schadenfreude, and the third is to address the question that has preoccupied most recent philosophcial literature on schadenfreude, "is it morally bad in some way to feel it?".  My answer to the later question is "it depends,"  but it depends on what position one takes on a substantive philosophical issue -- is a person's misfortune something that is always intrinsically bad?  Lastly, I attempt to sketch a view in which moral emotions like schadenfreude can (but need not) can be more or less reasonable on the basis of coherence with other warranted emotions.

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