Good Hate

Damian Cox, Michael Levine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


Is it ever a good thing to hate another person? The first step in answering this is to get a little clarity about the kind of hate in question. The term "hate" is used so freely in casual conversation-one hates a brand of pickle, a movie, or a new building-that it loses some of its currency. But the term is deeply ambiguous and retains its power to shock when appropriately disambiguated. To hate a brand of pickle is merely to dislike it strongly. To hate a person is to want something in pa1ticular: it is to find them intolerable; it is to wish, in some sense, for their downfall. We will need to be more precise about the characteristic motivational goals of such hatred, but the term "downfall" serves well in a first pass at what is peculiar about hatred of persons. Personal hatred is directed at both individual persons and groups of persons. We con­centrate on individuals. We are looking at individuals encountered in one's life, even if remotely: family members; personal enemies; bosses; administra­tors; the police officer who torments you; the neighbour who mocks you; the politician who sends your country to war through lies; the genocidal killer you learn about, awaiting trial in the Hague; and so on. We ask whether it is ever good to hate such people. To suppose that all hate is bad in some way, or immoral, seems to be less jarring or surprising than supposing that all hap­piness or all love is good. This is not so.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Moral Psychology of Hate
EditorsNoell Birondo
Place of PublicationLanham
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)9781538160862
ISBN (Print)9781538160855, 9781538164501
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2022

Publication series

NameMoral Psychology of the Emotions
PublisherRowman and Littlefield


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