Revenge is sweet

  • Joshua GertEmail author


The first half of this paper defends the claim revenge is a personal good. That is, it is the sort of thing, the pursuit of which, for oneself, always provides a reason for action. This makes trouble for the dominant philosophical view of the relation between morality and practical reason: a view held by theorists we can call ‘Angels’. Angels hold that moral requirements are also rational requirements. Devils, on the other hand, hold that immoral behavior is at least sometimes rationally required, so that one would have to act against reason to do what is right. The position in the largely undefended space between the Angels and the Devils is occupied by those we can call ‘Humans’. Humans acknowledge that immoral behavior is sometimes rationally permissible, but they also hold that it is never rationally required. The second half of the paper explains how one can endorse the view that revenge is a good without becoming a Devil. It also argues that the goodness of revenge supports the existence of a theoretically interesting kind of reason: a purely justifying reason.


Revenge Morality Practical reasons Personal good Rationality Justifying Requiring 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe College of William and MaryWilliamsburgUSA

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