Guest lecture by Alba Montes Sánchez (University of Copenhagen)
Visiting postdoc Alba Montes Sánchez (University of Copenhagen) will give a talk on the topic: Envy as a social emotion.
Within emotion theory envy is generally portrayed as a purely individualistic emotion: the rivalry envy involves, so the thought goes, indicates that the relation between the envier and the rival is exclusively antagonistic in nature and, hence, anti-social. This paper aims at resisting this view by arguing that envy necessarily presupposes a sense of us-ness. To put this claim in more technical terms, envy can be described as a hetero-induced self-conscious emotion, i.e., as an emotion that, although being about the self, is induced by somebody who is perceived by the emoting subject as an in-group member.
The presentation is organized in three parts. In the first part, we argue that envy is always a hostile emotion by focusing on Scheler’s theory of envy and, in particular, on his idea that envy presupposes a sense of impotence on the side of the envier as well as a psychological tendency to compare oneself with others. In the second part, we introduce the notion of “hetero-induced self-conscious emotions” by focusing on the paradigmatic case of being ashamed of somebody else. In the third part we apply this framework to envy and argue (i) that the impotence felt by the subject signals the emotion’s self-reflexivity and (ii) that the target of the comparison is somebody who the emoting subject conceives of as an in-group member. The paper ends by assessing the extent to which envy presupposes a sense of us.
The talk is presented by Alba Montes Sánchez, who earned her PhD in 2014 from Carlos III University of Madrid with a thesis on the moral significance of shame. She is currently employed as a post doctoral researcher at the Centre for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen as part of an interdisciplinary project on the “Genomic History of Denmark” focusing on personal identity and group membership. Publications include Salice, A., & Montes Sánchez, A. (2016). Pride, Shame and Group Identification. Frontiers in Psychology, 7(557). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00557 and Montes Sánchez, A. (2014). Shame, recognition and love in Shakespeare’s 'King Lear'. Azafea, 16, 73-93.