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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 16, 1998

Philosophical Anthropology

Elizabeth Murray Morelli
Pages 80-86

Ressentiment and Rationality

This paper is an investigation of the condition of ressentiment. It reviews the two most prominent philosophic accounts of ressentiment: Nietzsche's genealogy of ressentiment as the moral perversion resulting from the ancient Roman/Palestinian cultural conflict and giving birth to the ascetic ideal; and Scheler's phenomenology of ressentiment as a complex affective unit generative of its own affects and values. A single sketch of the typical elements of ressentiment is drawn from the review of these two accounts. One element in particular, the exigency of rationality, is highlighted. The rationality of ressentiment is found to be essential to the phenomenon as a whole and to its constitutive parts. Curiously, while their accounts imply and suggest the role of rationality, neither Nietzsche or Scheler make the centrality of rationality to ressentiment implicit.

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