Shades of Schadenfreude. A phenomenological account of pleasure at another’s misfortune
In the present essay I would like to explore the different meanings of the emotion named Schadenfreude from a perspective integrating Plato’s and Aristotle’s moral philosophy with the analyses of phenomenological anthropologists such as Scheler, Plessner and Blumenberg. In the first half of my essay I will focus on Aristotle’s distinction between, on the one hand, a pleasure at another’s misfortune which does not necessarily obstruct pity in the opposite position and provides relief from indignation, and a malicious pleasure at another’s misfortune (epichairekakia) understood as the opposite of envy. In the second half of the essay I will examine the link between the joy involved in Schadenfreude and laughter by asking whether and to what extent this contemplative emotion contributes to the emergence of a theoretical attitude.
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