"Can There Be A Philosophy of Hate?" Why? Radio Episode with Guest Berit Brogaard
2:28AM Sep 17, 2020
Jack Russell Weinstein
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Hi, I'm jack Russel Weinstein host of wide philosophical discussions about everyday life. On today's episode, we'll be exploring hatred with philosopher Barrett brocard. Every episode of why radio begins with a monologue that prepares the way for the unrehearsed conversation we're about to have. I do this because it introduces the listeners to a background they might not be aware of. It helps the guest know where I'm coming from as an interviewer, and it helps me focus my own thoughts, so I know what to ask. Today we're taking a philosophical look at hatred. And while I was all set to write down a torrent of ideas, it turns out, I had nothing to say. Much to my own surprise, I hadn't given hate much thought at all. Here's what came to mind. Hate is bad. It is destructive to oneself and others that inspires anger and violence. Sometimes it comes from injustice, but more often than not, it comes from ignorance and fear. Whatever the case hate is something we must overcome because it leads to darkness. You know, fear is the path to the dark side, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. It seems that the most sophisticated thing I had to say about the subject had already been uttered by Yoda. I guess this isn't all that surprising. Western philosophy teaches us that emotions are irrational. They come from a spontaneous place we have little control over our feelings and our reason are set to work in opposition, not together. And while they might reveal what is in our heart, they might also just be passing fancies that will go away if we ignore them. Plato thought we should control emotions, like a charity or controls a horse, the stoics thought we should contain them until we didn't have them anymore. Kant thought they undermine morality. And Freud thought that they were often deceptive and lead to neuroticism. If this is what we're being taught, why should we dwell on our emotions at all, they only reveal our weaknesses to others. Of all the emotions curiosity, anger, fear, desire, sadness, disgust, whatever hate is usually regarded as the violinist. It has no redeeming qualities and the worst among us are saddled with its name, hate mongers and hate groups hate crimes. When we mentioned love hate relationships, we might as well admit to having multiple personality disorders. to admit that we hate is to tell the world that we are irredeemable. But truth be told, the last few decades have seen a tremendous growth in the philosophy of emotions. Combining a more fluid conception of reason with new frontiers in cognitive science. Scholars have begun to cast doubt on the caricature of emotions the history of philosophy is foisted upon us. Maybe it will turn out that emotions can evolve or integrate with reason, or that they have evolutionary purposes besides fight and flight and if So, maybe hate isn't irredeemable at all. Maybe hate is informative and useful. At least this is what today's guest will argue in part Anyway, she will explore the full spectrum of kinds of hate that which should be attended to and that which should be defeated. And we'll do it by connecting hatred to other emotions that also get short shrift in our thoughts. For me, then, there is something nice about coming to the discussion with a blank slate. I really liked the idea that I'm both filling a hole in my knowledge and finding out that something I thought should be excised could actually make me a better person. Wouldn't it be great if every part of our experience could inform our moral point of view? Wouldn't it be relief to discover that we're not corrupt by design? I'm Jewish, not Christian, and I've never felt comfortable with the idea of original sin. But I too have felt the weight of being a human being, of being the only creature on earth that hates if we can identify good Hayden, bad hate. Maybe we can heal those hostile rifts that divide us by color, religion and nationality. If we can distinguish between justifiable and unjustifiable hatred, maybe we can figure out how to educate away abuse, misogyny and exploitation. If we can articulate a lexicon of hate, maybe we can look at those who deserve to be hated and communicate to them why they might want to change their ways, why they want to be better, more empathetic, more deserving of our affections. This is all utopian, of course. But if our current world is built on the assumption that emotions and reasons are opponents, then who knows what we can create when we accept that they are partners instead. And now our guest Brad ProGuard is Professor of Philosophy and director of the brocard lab at the University of Miami. She's the author of three books, including the upcoming hatred understanding our most dangerous emotion from Oxford University Press. Brett, welcome to why.
Hi, thank you. Thanks for having me.
If you'd like to participate, share your favorite moments from the show and tag us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Our handle is why radio show you can always email us at ask why you end it Do you and listen to our previous episodes for free at why Radio show.org? So Bret, why is there so little philosophical work on hatred?
It's a good question. There's, there's been a lot of interest in emotions in recent years, but contempt has been been discussed a little bit. And hatred, to some extent has been discussed in the form of articles. But I haven't seen a full length book on hatred, written by a philosopher until now. So that was what sort of got me interested in or maybe I could say more than what would fill an article. Maybe I could say, maybe there's a lot to say. And I figured out that there was a lot to say about that.
Do you think that there's something about the subject itself that didn't motivate people to say a lot or do you think it's just this is what we were Up to in the pathway of philosophy, and we just hadn't gotten to it yet.
I think you said well, in your introduction, that hatred is it has one quality to it, right? It's it's bad, that see the view that most people have. And if that's the case, then there's not much to write about. Of course, you could write about it from a literary point of view, then you could go through various works, where hatred comes up, right, starting with the ancient Greeks and so on. But what would you say about it? If you wanted to speak about hatred as an emotion as a philosopher, if you think that he's was bad, and that's it, it's, it's one of those emotions that just are irrational. And that's it, then there's not much to say about it.
So what makes a philosophical approach different, I mean, you You mentioned literature, right? We know novels and movies and poems and plays and even works of musical works that that deal with hate as a subject. But that's about the experience of hate and the consequence of hate. What makes a philosophical discussion about emotions philosophical, as opposed to say literary or or something else.
There's of course, an overlap between those, but their philosophical part of the discussion of hatred would involve looking at different aspects of hatred and providing arguments for why he has those aspect for example, was a literary, political interpretation or literary analysis of of work that involves His word, it could involve some of the same arguments, but it would be grounded more in the in the text itself. So if your history history a philosopher, so a philosopher who looks at historical works, right then some of the historical works that English professors or literary critics look at what might be the same that you look at. And so in that sense, I could be an overlap. But we are sort of more focused on the argumentation and making a point based on you might call it logic. But of course, it's not always logic in the deductive form that we use in philosophy.
So let me let me pull this thread a little bit in the middle of the book, you end up talking about a bunch of different emotions and diagnoses, let's say narcissism. And you look at the DSM, the psychological handbook that helps psychologists and psychiatrists identify narcissism as a clinical problem what's the difference between The way that a psychologist would articulate what narcissism is to practitioners or clinicians and the way a philosopher would articulate what narcissism is in a book or in class or or in a discussion with their students, how are those presented differently
so first of all, if you're a psychiatrist, you would go strictly with the with the manual right so he's I'm currently fifth the fifth edition. If you're a psychologist, you are you could be interested in in, in in the manual as well, but it usually interested in each extremes in this case in extreme in the normal population. The philosopher might be more interested in in some of the consequences, so it could be done well under normative consequences, moral consequences and legal consequences. So one question that is discussed in the book is the question of whether, to what extent it is sort of like narcissism is more of a moral disorder than a clinical disorder. This is not to say that every personality disorder is a mental disorder, but there's this specific group of disorders. And in the book, I'm mostly talking about the extremes in a normal population. So narcissism as an extreme in a normal population, is that more of a moral disorder than a clinical disorder? Of course, it's also a clinical disorder, because it's defined that way. But is it more disorder, more so than some of the other disorders described in DSM?
What does that mean? What's the difference between a moral and a clinical disorder and why is that important? For us?
That's very special consequences. And those the question of whether you We can control our emotions. And, but we also very well know that probably to some extent that we can control our emotions. I'm saying to some extent, because I'm not saying that you can make yourself happy right now, if you're in a bad mood, or if you are thrilled about something that you can make yourself unhappy, but we know that we, if you're angry, if you you can, you can control your emotions to some extent. You can maybe location you, you catch yourself or reacting. But we also have that old thing we tell ourselves to count to 10 or to go to another room, if we're angry, for example. So there are certainly ways in which we can control our bad emotions when they're inappropriate. We also know that we have a tendency to react less in a less controlled way with the people That we're close to. So if you are in a meeting with your boss, for example, you are less likely to start screaming at him. For something that you disagree with, you are much more likely to express it in a calm and rational sounding way. So clearly there is an extent to which we can control our emotions, not just in the, in the long run, but also it was short term right here now. And so if if, if a disorder like narcissism, for example, is a moral disorder, there are aspects of that disorder that are actually chosen. And if you look carefully at DSM and not just at the criteria, because as a DSM, actually, it's not written just according to the criteria, but also according to some of the explanations in it. You will see that the way that That that psychiatrists are looking at it is that some of some aspects of narcissism is actually chosen. So it may be that the psychopath, for example, is sort of biologically efficient in empathy. But the way that narcissists are described even in the clinical sense, it's that they have sort of lack they choose to not have any empathy, for example, for people in certain kinds of situations. Now, that's not to say that, of course, that is both biological and socially developed aspect of fascism. But if there's a moral aspect to it, if that is something that that they actually are acting badly, partially on purpose, that does make a difference to whether we would hold them responsible, whether we think that they can control what they're doing and legally speaking, you might also have consequences.
So So I mean, this this notion of being able to choose being a narcissist or not, or at least being able to choose to act on it or not is really interesting. Does it follow then that if it's a moral disorder, we can identify the person as being a bad person, but if it's a clinical disorder, the person has an illness and isn't blameworthy. I mean, would that be one of the distinctions tours that taking it too far?
So of course, we can't just look at it in a black and white way, but that is something to that. So legally speaking, we already have that distinction in the law, so if you if you have a psychosis, a true psychosis that gives you a hallucination, so it makes you hallucinate. Say people that come up to you to ask you say to Come up comes up to you and ask you about the reactions to some place, you have a hallucination that they are actually attacking you. And the knife that say,
this is just something I'm making up as I go along here.
And then in your mind, you are in self defense, you actually self defense killing that person. And that happens on multiple occasions, tourists come up to you and ask you for directions. But from your perspective, because you're hallucinating, hallucinating because you have a psychosis or psychotic illness, you're losing eating, you're seeing them attacking you with a knife. You're killing them in self defense. Okay, in that case, if we could really figure out that that was what's going on and it's not something that you're making up, then it seems that you're not responsible because in your world, from your perspective, what you are seeing what your brain is making up in insights Your mind so to speak sounds like there's someone sitting inside your brain. Of course, that's not but whatever your world picture is. Someone is attacking you and you're acting in self defense. So in that case, you would, perhaps you could use legal insanity as a defense. And now, you cannot use legal insanity as a defense in many other cases, where you have some control over it, where it's not about you thinking, Oh, I'm doing the right thing here. Right indicate a case where people are psychotic. They in some sense, sometimes thinking they're doing the right thing was in other cases, surely the Narcissus knows. According to psychology, research in psychology knows that they're doing something bad when they're doing something bad when they're putting people down, for example.
So I, I really want to pull this thread a little bit because I find it Fascinating, and you've mentioned legality a bunch of times. And so one of the questions that I have is whether this is one of your primary concerns. I know that later on in the book, you talk about hate speech and things like that, where that's relevant. But when we talk about hatred, we often talk about hatred in people's hearts. We talk about people being hateful, even if they don't act on it. And so there's still that moral dimension that's separate from legality. And so how much in your work on emotions? Do you use the sort of moral evaluations, the evaluations of goodness, evaluations of character, whether it's sort of the content, you know, universal morality, or sort of a more virtue ethics or something like that, from Aristotle? How, how much does does to the emotions that we have in have the emotions that we both feel and express it have moral content that are independent of the legal and institutional frameworks that that we have. Is morality important here? Or is that just is that a whole separate question?
No morality, of course is is, is very important. And of course, we know that the law comes apart from from morality. And sometimes it happens to coincide. Of course, morality is the my primary interest, in some sense with respect to emotions, because we can't really speak of emotions having direct legal consequences, because that depends on society and so on. But yeah, emotions have moral consequences, but there's also the element of rationality. So I already going back to my work that I have competed many years ago. I have tried to I take issue with the idea that emotions are not subject to the assessment for rationality or irrationality. Right? So emotion
Can you explain what that means. I'm sorry to interrupt. But can you explain what that means? Because I know in philosophy that's something very specific, but a lot of our listeners may not know the debate. So what is it for emotions to be subject to rationality or not?
So, so let's start with how we think about it in ordinary life. So you might have someone, a friends who says, Oh, I'm afraid of flying. So I always take my car when I go somewhere. And then you might just say, well, but that's irrational because look at the statistics, there's actually a much greater chance of dying in a car accident than in a than if you fly. Okay, so so there you already told your friends be that the friend was irrational, on the basis of being afraid frying. So fear here is deemed in this particular case as irrational. So so this is this is something that we most people agree with. And this is something that a lot of philosophers would agree with as well when it comes to other sort of emotional states like love and hate, hatred and contempt and so on then there's a lot more disagreement about whether you can have say irrational love or or rational love or irrational or irrational hate is probably what people think applies to all hate but we can do then have rational he can you have rational contempt? So so it's sort of what we mean he is it is it something. rationality, as I think about it is is linked to your own well being in some sense It might not be directly linked, but it's linked to your own well being whereas morality is linked to the well being of others. So if you think of, of irrational love, for example, that would be love that is bad for you was immoral, love would be love that's bad for others. So morality is primarily about others was rationality is primarily about yourself, but of course they they are connected to each other because there's also the question of practical rationality which is rationality related to what did you do was of course, again relates to to what is more so. So, when I talk about love, we could or hatred for that matter. We can ask the question Is it is it is it rational? Is it more And we can sometimes draw the distinction between whether Is this something that's healthy for you or will help you live well. to, to have to be to feel hatred in a certain situation, say and is it is the hatred you have is that damage damaging or neutral to other people? That would be a moral question.
When we get back, we'll start talking about hate specifically, we'll talk about the family of emotions that you have to elaborate on in order to explain hate, and then we'll start talking about the hate that is destructive, and then those instances of hatred that you think have redeeming moral value. But before that, we'll take a break. You're listening to Britt ProGuard and jack Russel Weinstein on why philosophical discussions about everyday life We'll be back right after this.
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with why philosophical discussion with everyday life, I'm your host jack Russell Weinstein. We're talking with Brett bro guard about hatred and a philosophical exploration and as we were talking about the connection between rationality and choice and the emotions, I kept thinking about the car discussion about depression in our society that that one of the things that folks who are depressed or who advocate for folks who are depressed, say all the time is that the way that our culture handles depression isn't very healthy. People will say, you just got to stop being depressed, just get out of bed, just, you know, get over it. Just stop, stop being sad. And there is a really wonderful, especially among the younger generation conversation about ways in which to assist and help folks through depression, which is an illness. There's an analogue between that and the discussion of hatred. Our culture is full of examples of people who are just saying, just stop hating, turn the other cheek. Get over it. You know, walk a mile in someone else's shoes, right? You have this this notion that hatred is just something that you could stop doing. Right. And that suggests that hate is both very surface And also very manipulable. So Brett, I want to ask you, in your research on hate. Do you think that hate is something that we give too much power to that we could overcome if we want it to? Or is it really deeply intertwined with our structures and our culture? And really, it has a lot more power over us than we like to admit.
So there are at least two aspects to that question. We talked about people who have narcissism and extreme in the normal population. For example, there there is a certain hate proneness. So as a disposition to to hate or in this case, perhaps it's more contempt looking down on people. It is case is it's part of that person's personality. So, of course, it would take more to completely change it. And then there's the people who are who are who hate in certain circumstances where may or may not be justified, but it's not something that they're prone to do is not something a disposition that they have. But then as the hatred that discussed in media all the time, especially Well, right now, too, but also before the Coronavirus, and that was the the hatred in the population, the increase in the number of hate groups that we see in the population and so forth. And and of course, in in that case, we can't tell you hate groups that wouldn't help to tell the hate groups who just stop hating because that's the sort of very cause that unite there. groups. So, so that's not the way to deal with group patronage. So, so so there so there are two parts really to this question, are we talking about personal hate? Or are we talking about group paid? And if you're talking about personal hate, then there are ways that you can sort of step back and evaluate whether you're actually justified in in hating or whether you're not justified in in in hating with respect to two hate groups. You're actually hating a group of people. And I'm not talking about a group of people that consist of three of you or say, ex boyfriends or something like that, right? We're talking about people like all women, or all Jewish people. We're almost Muslims are all black people. And obviously that's always irrational, right? Even even an extreme case we can say, well, should we hate all? Nazis? Right? So now as a German artist leading up to and during the Second World Wars, you may hate all Nazis. Well, there are some examples where where some Nazis were actually celebrated by Jewish people later, right so, so even then, even if you took an extreme example, where you take an extremely a group of extremely evil people like the Nazis, the German Nazis, they are examples there were some people are officially Nazis because of a member of the Nazi Party, but they were actually doing good and saving you do as people. So in so group eight is always irrational. That's why we need to distinguish between personal hate, which can occasionally be irrational. And group eight, which is never rational.
And, and I, I want to follow up on that in a second because in the book you also used the term critical hate, which is a very negative kind of hate, but you did something in the process of answering the question in the book, which is for many people really culturally radical, which is you said, there is some form of justifiable hate for many people hate is always unjustifiable. It's always defensible. It's the worst side of human beings. What do you mean by justifiable hate? How can hate be justified and why would we want to celebrate their own word but but why do we want to maintain that idea? as something that's useful for us?
Yeah, so to to think about what the hate is ever justified. So as I as I said, he is only just But it can only be justified in the case of personal weighed because hating a group that consist of members, you don't even know the members of that group. Plus you usually hate groups, if you do, because of some superficial features like the skin color, so let's go back to personal hate. That's when I talk about hatred sometimes being a justifiable emotion. Let's compare it to to anger. First, let's talk about anger. Suppose, I were to say and some people do say this, that anger is not justifiable, you should never be angry. That's probably most people will disagree with that. Because anger serves a certain purpose. Sometimes it's unjustified if you're angry, but sometimes somebody Stepping on your toes so to speak, right? Sometimes somebody does something to you that they shouldn't have done. And you are reacting emotionally, sometimes in a justified way with anger, not anger that leads to fighting or not anger that leads to revenge. But anger that lets them know that that was not okay what they did. And so, anger, in some sense can help to maintain certain norms in society. Right, so nobody got angry at any one, then we probably would, would be worse towards each other. So in that sense, anger can be a good thing. So why would hatred be a good thing? Why can't we just do with anger then?
And there I think that that hatred does something that anger does not Anger is directed at something that someone did. So for example, it could be that you agreed to meet up with at all friends were for dinner, and the old friend your friends never shows up for dinner. And you get angry. Okay, so that was like something that's you're not really. You're not really thinking that you were a friend, not at this point. In a way, you're not thinking that you're your friend is a bad person, you're probably thinking, Okay, something came in the way the person should have called. But it's something that's probably relatively easy to forget, but you might still get angry. Now, a person even an old friends might get into a pattern of behaving badly. What would that mean? What that would might mean that the person might become a bad person, right? They might start to Developing a pattern of bad behavior, if it becomes a pattern, not just like not meeting you for dinner, but a pattern of putting people down for example or criticizing them, whatever the reason, then we are starting to talk about not just the person doing something that was wrong on one occasion, but also that the person has a certain dark side to them or have developed or are developing a dark side to them. And so hatreds in that case, can or is directed not just at one specific thing that they did wrong, but also is is sort of telling that person that that's not okay, that kind of dark personality that they're starting to develop. That that is something that they should look at, and perhaps overcome some sentence. So there is a role for heyedrate in that sense.
So his hatred then a holistic emotion in the way that you're using anger isn't that when you hate someone, you don't just hate what they do you hate who they are you hate the character you hate what they've become, I have in mind and you mentioned this also in the book, this idea of, you know, hate the sin but not the sinner. Right is is is is hatred, holistic in a way that other emotions aren't and therefore has a level of condemnation, which is more robust and more complete.
Yes, that's exactly right. It's realistic. So you are in some sense, hating the sinner, but by hating the sinner and not just a sin, you are not necessarily hating them forever, right. So that's also a mistake. Some people make Again when they're thinking about hate that that's a permanent emotion. It's not necessarily a permanent emotion but it's a holistic emotion as you say. But it's not necessarily permanent so so you can hate someone and most people even if they're not willing to admit it are probably very familiar with that. That's why we talk about love hate relationships, or hating your partner or hating and loving your partner. And, and when when that when that happens, it's it's the hatred is is realistic but not permanent. It doesn't have to be permanent. In some cases, it might be permanent. Right But But, but that certainly would depend on on the other person or the person that you hate, if you hate justifiably, you also are not using hate to retaliate against the other person. So that's something I argue against retaliation argue is not justified, or even having a retaliatory attitude is not justified.
So I want to I want to hold off on that a sec because that's a really rich and interesting conversation, I want to be able to focus on it. In the book in the book you give some very graphic examples are powerful examples, I should say, of stuff that we know about, including a famous case of a father who locks his daughter in the basement and Austrian and makes her his prisoner and sex slave for years and years. And, and, and there is some sense that in in, in that case, we understand and job and and and the hatred of the daughter of the father is justified and there are other instances where people are victims of crimes, or victims of manipulations or victims of bullying or victims of, of people at the work who try to you know, destroy you or undermine you that that those things are justified. Is it is the justification purely for I don't know, the public A gospel purpose in the sense that what I mean by that is is hate is justified by the potential change that it can inspire in other people or can hate be justified simply as a state that a person is allowed to be in because they're a human being I mean, does does hate have to be instrumental or can hate be a good in itself?
Yeah, you can, okay certainly be be good in itself. So, it can certainly be good in itself in the sense that grief can be good in itself. So, we sometimes tell people that who have lost doesn't have to be someone who does it can be also it can be that they have lost a relationship or they have lost a job and they are grieving and we are telling them well, you should allow yourself to grieve right? And of course, you shouldn't continue grieving for say five years and that becomes pathological. But usually Let it run its course. And the same goes for for hatred. So if you somebody really treated you badly to the point where where that was hateful, genuinely hateful then hatred, not hatred that makes you think about retaliating against the other person. But But I think that hatred can be helpful for you as a person for a while then of course, there comes a point just like grief that you would have to learn to let go. But you have to let it run its course. And people who were attacked in various ways, right? They were somebody who is raped say they are they entitled to go through a period of hatred towards the rapist? Yeah, not only are they entitled to do that, it would probably be healthy to do that, too, because Hatred gives you in some sense power, because it sends a message even if only in your own head because if somebody is raped it might not ever see the rapist again, but it sends a message in their own hat to that, that, that that was not okay to for them to be to treat the victim the way that they were treated, right and that that was terribly arrogant to do that. And it was the hateful behavior was a way of saying oh, I'm superior to you. And I can treat you badly because the obvious entitled to do that. So by hating you can sort of reverse that scenario and say, Well, no, in fact, you are not superior to me. And you are actually in some sense below me. I'm actually a valuable human being and that's so part of what what hatred is telling if not the world and you're telling yourself that by hating. So hatred sends a message and in terms of the instrumental part of hatred, it does another instrumental part of hatred. And that is also of course, the way that hatred of course can prevents us from doing certain very hateful things because being hated is is a very uncomfortable state to be in. So in that sense, there's also a sort of preventative aspect to to hatred. But But episodios is sort of a Yeah, in a way you can compare it to Greece, like instead of grieving, a loss, you can hate for a while you can hate what someone did to you and that can actually help you get back on your speech
is his hate. I'm a binary and what I mean by that is Is it is it? Do you either hate or you not hate? Or can there be lighter forms of hate and what what I have in mind is there's a book about the rivalry between the UNC Chapel Hill Tar Heels and the the Duke Blue Devils. And the title is great. It's it's to hate like this is to be happy forever. Right? And it's, you know, sport hatred is is a classical form of cultural hatred, but there's a lightness and and even a self deprecating aspect of it. Is it wrong to use hate in those terms? I mean, is that just does that disarm and not take the concept of hate seriously or is there really a spectrum of hate, and we can use hate in that way, even if it isn't as a virulent or is as intimate and emotionless as say, hating your victimizer Or something like that?
I think you can. In Of course, in some cases it might be more of a metaphor for another for the emotions, especially in sports, but you certainly can have milder forms of hate and hatred in, in the case where people say, Yeah, I love my partner and I and right now I hate my partner. Because he is he did that to me. In that case, presumably, your hatred is much is not as strong as hatred towards someone who really violated you. But in terms of the degrees of emotions, I think that all emotions, common degrees, love come in degrees. So we love some people more than others. We can hate some people who hate anyone we can hate some people more than we hate others, we can hate very little and hate a lot. So, no, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. But there are certain features that would have to be present as you put it, it's hatred is directed at the person. When it's personal hate, right, it's directed at the person and not just at what they did. So, by that I also mean it's is also directed at their motives, right. So you're in some sense not when you're hating. You're not just hating what they did, but also hating the person for the motives that went into doing what they did was if you're angry, you might not be care at all about them odors.
So So before we transition to moving from personal hate, group hate or critical hate, what are the conditions that that You think make hate unacceptable on the personal level, and what makes hate acceptable you alluded to revenge or retribution. What what? What are the conditions that make hating morally acceptable?
I think that there are two key things that make that make it acceptable or unacceptable. If you hate if you're hating someone and you're sort of plotting revenge or retaliation, then you have gone too far.
If you are, this is a related concept if you were thinking of the other person as less than human, so if your hatred is dehumanizing, then you have gotten you've gone too far right? You You should correct that. So that when I'm talking about critical hate, I call it critical hate because it's not the humanizing. And it's not the kind of hatred where you're plotting revenge or thinking about how can you actually get back at that person with a critical hate is more. Use critical because it's more meant to be a kind of way of criticizing a person through your emotions. And so perhaps correcting them or perhaps helping yourself perhaps nobody is the criticism may never reach anyone, right. Nobody may actually hear your criticism, but then it might help yourself heal. And the but the dehumanizing hatred is when you actually have gone so far that you don't consider the other person even worthy of the minimally Isn't treatment, right? So, if you go so if you've gone so far that you hate someone so much that you would not even you would not even if you could easily remove them from a street where a car is coming, they say they fell on a street. You see a car coming. This is your enemy, in some sense, but your hatred is so deep that you're just standing there where you could easily have removed them and save them from the from being run over by the car or it was a train or whatever the scenario is. In that case, you're you care so little about them that you actually no longer considering them human really right you're not even considering them worthy of the minimal decent treatment. In that case, of course, you've gone too far because your hatred has become dehumanizing. So, so if you I mean, even when you hate someone, you probably should be willing to to do what do something that is minimally decent towards them. And that's where we're at the philosopher Emmanuel Kant says that you should never treat someone as a means to an ends, right? So you should treat them as an end in and of themselves. It doesn't mean that you can't treat them as a means which people as means all the time, like like if you go to your hair stylist, of course, the your purpose is to get your hair cut or styled. And so in some sense, you treat them as a means for getting your hair done. But you don't treat them as mere means right? You're not treating them as nonhumans.
So the the idea behind this is that no matter how much hatred you feel for someone They are still a person. And their personhood has to be respected even if you don't feel like it, even if you don't want to, right and this is right, this is where Kant comes in, and that these emotions, it doesn't matter what we feel, we have to do it because it's the right thing and so, so hate that inspires us to dehumanize, to violate someone's personhood is is never justified and it's it's the depersonalization it's the dehumanization that is never justified. And so that that actually makes me wonder. And this doesn't really come up in the book. But war, right. One of the things that that that countries do when they're at war with other countries is teach their soldiers to hate the other side, because that dehumanization makes it easier to kill the enemy. Are you suggesting then that it is immoral to use hatred as a tool for war? that that that that hatred, since it since dehumanization stops hatred from being justified? Then hatred as a as a as a war tactic is just as unjustified then I think you both you and I both agree that rape is a war tactic is unjustified and the genocide is a war right. So that that hatred to is unjustified even if it makes the soldiers more comfortable with killing the enemy.
I think that the way that soldiers typically are taught to hate is is wrong. So, by using ways to make make ways of making them see the enemy as less than human is wrong, for the same reason than that the the the methods used in in wars that involve genocide and so on. is wrong. So, can you achieve the same and more is war you can be a pacifist or you can be say that that maybe sometimes war is justified. So Let's just assume that you think that was justified, you could still achieve the same effect by not by teaching us soldiers that the enemy is less than human. But by teaching them that there might be situations where you are actually in a position of self defense, where self defense doesn't necessarily involve hatred. In fact, the people that you're killing you don't know the people, the soldiers that are killing other people, the the enemies, they don't know them. So in this case, it can't be justified to hate to hate them. Hatred is a is a wrong emotion in that case. But self defense might involve killing the enemy and Clearly, war in some sense has to be about self defense. Otherwise it's not justified. Right? So you don't just decide to start a war because you want to expand. So we don't just decide to start a war in Canada, for example, because we decide that the United States we want to be bigger. So we want to take over Canada, that wouldn't be justified for so in When, when, when we, if war is justified, it has to be because it's a kind of self defense, sometimes perhaps is self defense. That goes beyond Of course, the individual, right war would be perhaps self defense as a country, but what patriot is is actually the wrong thing. And it's what you see in the wars that that have led to genocide. That's that's genuine hatred that you have in those cases. When, when you, when you see you, I suppose that that those the kind of hatred that you can have to work institutions and I do, I don't talk about that too much in, in the book, because it's a different kind of it's a different kind of emotion that you would have to work institutions. And I'm not sure that it's the same kind of emotion. So of course you can hate a country. So if a country attacks you say that Russia suddenly decided to attack America and you might have a certain hatred towards the institution. But that doesn't mean that you would hate the Russians, right? The individual people who have presumably have nothing to do with with that attack. So I would say that hatred is the wrong it's the wrong emotion in those cases, and it's the kind of emotion that has led to those tears. Things that that we have seen, like during the Holocaust, during various genocides was before and after that
this is tremendously relevant. And if if there's a second edition of the book, it would be really nice for you to add a chapter because this is what the Black Lives Matter debate and the defend the police police debate is very much about right you can you can hate the police as an institution and still recognize that there are good police officers and still treat individual police officers with respect, but still want to defend and critique and so a lot of the protesters now who would describe their relationship with a lot of the institutions in the United States as hatred. They can still hate the institution and not the individuals and then maybe as you're suggesting, we might want to find a different word or understand hate in a different way. So I think that's tremendously interesting. It also leads to the next question, which is what then goes wrong with group hate? Because you spent a tremendous amount of time in the book and it's, you talk about abusive relationship, I guess abusive relationship as a group hate, but you're talking about abuse. relationally took him a massage Honey, you talk about racism, you talk about anti semitism. You talk about the hate groups, what we call hate groups now and white supremacist and things like that. Is it? Is it just impossible by definition or structurally impossible for a group that hates to meet the conditions of justifiable hatred that you've talked about? all the groups necessarily want retaliation and dehumanization is it just it's just once you get on the group level, you just can't meet those conditions. What's going on there?
I think I think there's more than that going on. So if we go back to there believe that With us just talking about defending the police. You may you may hate an institution but you can't hate the whole group, which would be a group that would involve all police officers. Even if you limit it to two police officers who currently exist meaning to the present group of police officers, it would be it would just be a fallacy of generally generalizing right from, from from some bad, maybe many bad people to a whole group of people. hating the institution is different. I do say in in the very beginning of the book that I'm not going to talk about hatred towards entities or things which would go from from hating various practices or institutions hating discrimination for example hating that that that Black, Black women are so paid something like 15 cents per per $1 that is paid to to an average white person, something like that. Right? So, so those are institutions and systems that you can hate and, and the book is not about that it's about it's about personal hate. I'm about group eight and so hate by hating a group you're in, you're hating everyone in that group, you're not making any exceptions because you by hating a group, you're hating the members of the group. So you're hating people that you don't really know, even if, you know, know, even if you haven't, you know, half of that group, you wouldn't know half of that group but she's new 10% of that group, right. So you know, 10% of the say police force, then you don't know the whole group so you can hate the institution, but you cannot hate the group because that's just that's it. That's a fallacy. The same fallacy is if you, you see enough white swans use you, you conclude that all swans are white. That's, of course, a mistake, a logical mistake. Because there are ones that are black, just because you haven't seen them doesn't mean that that's the case. And so, one thing that goes wrong at the level of group eight is that you were making a logical fallacy by generalizing from individuals that you have encountered to all individuals in that group. And you can't do that. I mean, that's a logical fallacy. And so that's the first part of what goes wrong. And then, of course, we can add the retaliation and dehumanization that often comes along with repeat because I make a lot of I talk a lot about how groups acts in terms of psychology and how groups and the their viewpoints or their, that joint cause often escalates because of the psychology of groups. So groups work in ways that make them more and more hateful. If hate is is a starting point, then if that's what drives the group, then you will tend to become more and more hateful. And so your hatred will eventually become dehumanizing, or becomes something that would be involved with ends or retaliation. So, so there are many reasons but the very first one would be, you can't just generalize, you can't just like look at 10 people who suppose you know, 10 people who are in high school and they are very bad people. And so then you end up hating everyone who attends High School. That's kind of like the fallacy that's involved in group eight For starters,
so so I've known people, including, you know, people who, especially older generation folks who will use who will try to work around this, like they'll, they'll say terrible things about black people, but they'll say but their friend Jim, who they worked with is great, or the gardener who they work with is great or the banker who they met was great that that you know, the abstract black person who they have in their mind they are racist against the hate but but but the individual they're okay with is that are they just kidding themselves? Right? Is that still an instance of group hate and it's still unjustifiable? are they struggling with what you're talking about? Or is there something inherently abstract about about group hate that that that is beyond this little interaction
Well, that's something abstract about it. Because you're hitting a group where you don't actually know even a fraction, I mean, you know, a very small fraction of the members of that group. So if you have hatred towards black people, then you are hating. Yeah, something that's very abstract to you. It's very concrete, of course, because he's heard this there's really a group with real people in it, but you are not hating the group on the basis of the members. So in essence, it's abstract. But it's really just a fallacy of, of taking. In this case that you mentioned, it would be a certain stereotype, right, that that is fueling your hatred, so it's not you encounter with one bad person. So in the police case, presumably if you the defending the police started with hatred towards some people that actually justifiably deserves to be hated in the police force, right. But then you generalize to to all of the police wars, which is a mistake in the example of someone who hates blacks, because of a certain stereotype, and so tax can be a different stereotypes about blacks, but maybe it's a stereotype about the black woman who's lazy and on food stamps, for example. And if that stereotypes, those types are obviously false, I mean, they're, I can't think of a single stereotype about any group, that that happens to be true, right. So stereotypes are something false, like myth, in some sense. So stories that that I've told you other people, though that we tell ourselves and and then the person who hates blacks based on that stereotype has absolutely doesn't even have to starting foundation or is the starting example of that that can justify the hatred. And then the person is furthermore generalizing, right? The stereotype of course, it's already about All Blacks present, generalizing about All Blacks. And then furthermore, is then saying, oh, but I'm working with, with this black person who's who's really cool. So there's a number of inconsistences in that viewpoint, right. And that person is probably suffering from cognitive dissonance, which which can be destructive in and of itself. And, and, and that's sometimes what's going on in The case of racism is, is a kind of cognitive dissonance, but on many different levels so. So that was one level that we were talking about. And there's another level where perhaps you did meet a bad person who belongs to a certain group. But then you don't generalize to the whole group, which is not something that's logical to do either.
I wonder if you talk for a minute about misogyny specifically, you have a fascinating chapter in which you try to articulate the causes of misogyny not in the causes of the wrong word, but the sort of the justifications and and you identify two different areas in which misogynous justify hating women and what's particularly interesting is that you also talk about women who women who hate women that it's not just men who hate women, but but that that there are women who hate Their own group, what is it about what's going on? And why is there such especially? I mean, you talked about the American context, but obviously this is a tremendously old prejudice. What's going on with massage money? Because I think your account of it offers a really nice example of how you want people to start to deconstruct why groups hate why people hate particular groups, what what group hate is and the things that you have to realize and undermine in order to get out of that trap. So so if you wouldn't mind talking just a little bit about your analysis of of what justifies misogyny.
Yeah, so misogyny of course is not justified, but what what justifies it in the minds of those? Yeah, before those acts, so I think distinguish between two forms of misogyny. So there's sort of the contemptuous form of misogyny, which is the tendency in the population to think that that women are not as good as men when it comes to certain things, for example, say logic, finance. I don't mention those examples specifically, but there are certain kinds of things that are something that classically, have been men's domains, right the politics, like stock markets, and so on something having to do with being rational.
Being having a lot of knowledge, being an intellectual, and so on, was of course, according to that picture Women also had their domain. So they would be good at taking care of children and they might be good school teachers, because that involves, in some sense taking care of children, and so on. So that's sort of a kind of default misogyny that still exists in, in society is the kind of misogyny that you might not notice. Because it's not it's contempt is more like contemptuous is sort of taking women to the Yes, not quite on the same level as men. And then as hateful as it was, is the kind of misogyny that most people discuss when they talk about misogyny, which is when you actually react towards certain women and the women that you react to, according to to the hateful mis misogyny or women who do not live up to your picture of what women should be so. So yeah, you can. Nowadays, it might be fine that to see a woman have tried to have a career, even trying to get up the career ladder a little bit. But don't get too far right though women shouldn't get too far out didn't get too far up the hierarchy. So if you look at some of the bad comments that some people make about Kamala Harris, part of that is misogyny because she went too far right si was chosen and accepted as the candidate vice president. right in and and so so she's gotten too far and I was she may never become the vice president because Trump my Win, win the election. But I am pretty Detecting that the misogyny will increase incredibly if Biden does when? towards Kamala Harris, because Si, si Dan would be an example. I mean, she would also have another problem, namely that she's black according to some people, that will be a further problem, but just that she's a woman. She's sort of overstepping her bounds. She's going too far out of what a woman should be doing. And so that's the kind of hateful misogyny and in often misogyny comes in the form of comments. Right, so comments on blogs or comments in, in the media. And sometimes it comes in the form of actions. So, I'm into the, the example of someone who, at a cafe in France, did some cat calling towards a woman and the woman said But basically that he should not do that and he took an ashtray and threw it in her face, right. So sometimes it's like physical violence towards women. But often it's it's it's just a yeah verbal verbal criticism of women that that don't comply with the standard that that men and some women think that that women should comply with.
What stuck out to me in this discussion was this idea that you were talking about the you were deconstructing the misogyny and you're talking about how there's a notion of femininity that America in particular has that when women are not suitably feminine, they are looked at with contempt and that all So that for some people, there's a notion of of dirtiness, of filth that come with women that get tied in with their bodies and with their behaviors. And that in a certain sense, misogyny is, you know, a formula of contempt of feminine femininity, plus disgust at filth, both just on both on justified, of course. And I guess the last question I want to ask is, is there a generic, for lack of a better way of asking the question, is there a generic formula for hatred is, is is hatred? Is there a platonic form of hatred, where hatred really is the same thing, regardless of who the target is? Or is hatred nuanced enough, that hatred of women is not just quantitatively but qualitatively different than hatred of African Americans and hatred of Jews than hatred of I don't know Estonians of hatred of whatever. Is there a core sort of universal core that we can use when we're trying to use Identify hatred, or is hatred really contextual. And you really just have to unpack the narrative, the tradition, the the stereotypes, the all that sort of stuff in order to make sense of it when you're talking about it in regards to a particular group.
what fuels the hatred is going to be a little bit different in many cases, the feminine filth that I talked about respect to misogyny, that kind of the idea of filth, you'll see that too as as also a motivator of hatred of blacks to job extent. There are so many stereotypes about black So that's just one of them was for women it's more fear that as clearly this filth related myth about women or so is an association right? Women are filthy because They are connected with child birth with menstruation and so on and so on. But that I think that that a similar we're very related myth of filthiness has also been dominating both white supremacy and, and sort of the the racism that's more population wide towards blacks, right? So you definitely see when, when it was more when racism was more explicit. And when you go back in the literature and you see some more explicit ways of talking about blacks, that's definitely using some of the same terms and phrases to talk about blacks as filthy that that are very similar to the way that misogynist in the old literature talk about women as as being filthy. So it can be different, different. They can be the same, right, some of the same things that fuels the hatred. But I would say that if you look at the hatred of Jews in the United States today, it has changed, of course over the years. But right now, if you look at, and I had to go in and look at, at some of the very worst blocks with people hating Jews in order to write this book, and they write these things about views, people, but you can see that part of what motivates the hatred of Jews is actually a form of envy. Because it happens to be the case that us people in this country, on average, have done an average a little bit better, right. I know the groups so So it seems to be driven by a kind of envy that I don't think that envy is a motivator in Sardinia except when it comes to women hating other women they are you can also have envy. And that is one of the categories I talked about in misogyny but for for people hating Jews today, there's definitely envy driving that. And then of course, drawing on, on on historical stereotypes in order to not come across as if it's just envy that drives it. But I think that is definitely clear that the higher IQ and I read, which is an a status fact, a few of us people, but also the success in terms of being more successful in media, in, in academia, in in areas that have those good qualities that White men traditionally sort of owned, right. So academia belongs to like white men. And of course, I think that when I'm saying white men, I'm speaking from the perspective of the hate groups that don't consider you as white. So the white men owned academia, they owned the media, they owned the banks and so on.
And so so that was definitely that kind of envy in in, in the, in the hatred of Jews that you don't necessarily find and say misogyny and I don't see it's either. Well, occasionally also for black people, but mostly it's driven by other things and then envy.
So it would be really interesting and a whole other episode to talk about the world. Have admiration and racism and fetishization and all of these other things that come with, with so called positive attitudes about the other. But we are out of time and I want to thank you so much for having this conversation. It's a very complicated and very difficult conversation to have, and I really appreciate you guiding us through it.
Well, thanks for the great questions.
You've been listening to jack Russell Weinstein and Brett Beauregard on why philosophical discussion about everyday life. I will be back with a few more thoughts right after this.
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You're back with why philosophical discussions about everyday life. We were talking with Brett Beauregard about hatred and the philosophical exploration of all of its nuances. You know, this is a difficult conversation to have not just because it's subtle, but because it involves articulating things we don't want to say, when you're trying to analyze hatred, you have to talk about the kind of things that people say, when they are hating people. You have to talk about stereotypes. You have to talk about insults, you have to talk about terrible aspects of the human personality. And how do you do that? Without perpetuating the stereotype? How do you acknowledge What's been going on without, you know, just repeating ugliness. And philosophy tries to do that by focusing on families of concepts by saying that hatred is a mixture of contempt and desire for retaliation or hatred involve disgust and suspicion and envy. And this isn't just sort of defining problems away. It's an attempt to get a sense of universality that we can figure out what's right and what's wrong. Right. Brett said during the conversation that part of what's wrong with collective hate is that it relies on a logical fallacy. the fallacy of generalization that is what what's true of one thing is true of everything. So my tennis ball is green. Therefore all tennis balls are green. The mugger who mugged me had red hair. Therefore all people with red hair are muggers, right? The power of this is that it allows us to see the patterns that people rely on to make the mistakes that they make in life. And hate is almost always a mistake. But there are times when it's not. There are times when it's perfectly justifiable to hate someone, and perfectly healthy to hate someone because it helps us deal with the horrors of our lives and sometimes the victim hood that we have to struggle through. But if hate is impermanent, if hate is a transition in our lives, if hate does not involve dehumanizing someone or demanding retribution, and still we are still capable of recognizing that there are aspects of them that need to be respected, then we can hate and we are better off because of it. And maybe they will be better off to because they will see our emotions they will feel our hatred and maybe possibly they can learn something hate is not irredeemable. is only so most of the time. Sometimes hate is very useful, and sometimes hate is justifiable. And the fact that that's true, is something worth hating in and of itself. You've been listening to Jack Russel Weinstein on why philosophical discussions about everyday life Thank you for listening as always, it's an honor to be with you.
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