Anger Eliminativism: Stoic and Buddhist Perspectives
Many psychologists and philosophers hold that anger is a completely normal and often healthy human emotion. This position perhaps traces back to Aristotle, who argued that anger is morally good when it is moderated, such as towards the right people, to the right degree, and for the right reasons. Even though Aristotle’s position has widespread acceptance, this view of anger is challenged by the philosophical traditions of Stoicism and Buddhism. Despite starting from disparate premises, both conclude that anger is impermissible and ought to be eliminated, a position called anger eliminativism. Even so, there has been little critical engagement with their respective arguments as bona fide philosophical positions, worthy of consideration in their own right. This dissertation hopes to help remedy that lack. To do so, it offers a philosophical exploration of Stoic and Buddhist arguments. It contrasts and critically evaluates the views of Stoicism and Buddhism, evaluates the Buddhist metaphysical reasoning about anger, responds to existing interpretations of Stoic anger eliminativism, and presents Stoic objections to arguments from the Confucian tradition that anger is at least sometimes the morally virtuous response to perceived wrongdoing.
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