According to a broad consensus among philosophers across the ages, anger is regrettable, counterproductive, and bad. It is something to be overcome or suppressed, something that involves an immoral drive for revenge or a naïve commitment to cosmic justice. Anger is said to involve a corruption of the person – it “eats away” at them, or plunges them into madness.
Maybe anger has been under-appreciated. Perhaps we have failed to make the right distinctions between different varieties of anger – thereby overlooking kinds that are productive and appropriate. In The Case for Rage: Why Anger is Essential to Anti-Racist Struggle (Oxford University Press 2021), Myisha Cherry argues that we need to give anger a chance. After identifying distinct forms of anger, she defends a kind of anger she calls Lordean Rage, which she argues is central to antiracist social progress.
Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.