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Philosophical Topics

Volume 47, Issue 2, Fall 2019

Emotion Regulation

Alfred ArcherOrcid-ID, Georgina Mills
Pages 75-94

Anger, Affective Injustice, and Emotion Regulation

Victims of oppression are often called to let go of their anger in order to facilitate better discussion to bring about the end of their oppression. According to Amia Srinivasan (2018), this constitutes an affective injustice. In this paper, we use research on emotion regulation to shed light on the nature of affective injustice. By drawing on the literature on emotion regulation, we illustrate specifically what kind of work is put upon people who are experiencing affective injustice and why it is damaging. We begin by explaining affective injustice and how it can amount to a call for emotion regulation. Then we explain the various techniques that can be used to regulate emotions and explain how each might be harmful here. In the penultimate section of the paper, we explain how the upshot of this is that victims of affective injustice are left with a dilemma. Either they try to regulate their anger in a way that involves ignoring the fact of their oppression or they regulate it in a way that is likely to be harmful for them. Finally, we consider whether there are any good solutions to this dilemma, and how this issue opens up the possibility for further research into emotion regulation and moral philosophy.

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