I'm sure that there is a philosopher that tells about anger, but I don't know his/her name. Could you help me? I'm studying about the anger in many cultural fields: arts, history, religion. Now I am interested in anger in philosophy. What would you advise to me?

  • 2
    The stoics wrote about the passions, anger among them falling under the category of Lust. Specifically, "a lust of punishing the man who is thought to have inflicted an undeserved injury." See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoic_Passions
    – stoicfury
    Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 16:57
  • @stoicfury: Thank you! Could you advise to me someone of stoic philosopher in particular?
    – sunrise
    Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 17:44
  • 1
    Andronicus wrote On Passions, but there are others more well known as "Stoic philosophers" who wrote more in depth about stoicism, where emotional control in general is paramount. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism (the article contains a list of stoic philosophers, but the article itself will provide a better overview than any individual philosopher's page will) :)
    – stoicfury
    Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 18:15

3 Answers 3


I think Nietzsche has words about the anger of ressentiment (in the genealogy of moral and antichrist). According to Nietzsche, it seems that anger is a reaction to something and can be opposed to the philosopher's laught, that would rather be closer to a pure action.

Half the use of Anger in Thus Spoke Zarathustra is clearly in this direction

One does not kill by anger but by laughter. (THE ASS-FESTIVAL.)

When I finished saying this the fire hound behaved as though out of his mind with envy. ‘What?’ it shouted, ‘the most important animal on earth? And they believe it too?’ And then so much steam and so many horrid voices emanated from his throat that I thought he would choke to death from anger and envy. At last he grew calmer and his panting let up; but as soon as he was calm I said laughing:

‘You are angry, fire hound, therefore I am right about you! And so that I also remain right, hear now about another fire hound: one who really speaks from the heart of the earth. (On Great Events)

Nietzsche principal preoccupation might have been to answer the question "who talk when I act", an the laugther comes as the symbol of someone talks with his heart and soul (often Nietzsche itself héhé) while anger comes in reaction to someone or something.

But Nietzsche is a descendant of Heraclite and certainly had this ironic pleasure of the "harmony of opposites" (I do not really know how to translate that) and indeed, Nietzsche's anger is sometimes flipped into something that is more like an internal strenght:

But beggars should be abolished completely! Indeed, one is angered in giving and angered in not giving to them (On the Pitying)

I would say the same applies with the laught, I found it hard to attach any value to Laught or anger in this one (here anger seems to be a way to correct ourself):

Love is the danger of the loneliest one, love of everything if only it lives! Laughable indeed are my folly and my modesty in love!” – Thus spoke Zarathustra and he laughed once again. But then he remembered the friends he left behind – and as if he had violated them with his thoughts, he became angry for his thoughts. And suddenly the laughing one began to weep – for wrath and longing Zarathustra wept bitterly. (THE WANDERER.)

Note however that in both sentences, anger is only the reflect of a strength if it is directed on ourselves.

Finally, only the friends seems to be a stable value :)

  • Beautiful answer and great effort! Very grateful to you, I thought that nobody would have your patience!! :) Definitely, accepted answer!
    – sunrise
    Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 13:25

You can also have a look at David Hume's Of Benevolence and Anger, in A Treatise of Human Nature. You may then read what deals with human passions in a more general way. I advise Spinoza's Ethics, part III.

  • Thank you! I hope to find time to read them! thanks again! :)
    – sunrise
    Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 13:23

Apologies for the partial answer, but I'm not sure that there are many philosophical accounts of anger or fury specifically, apart from their general relationship to virtue, as discussed by Aristotle, Maimonides, and other very early philosophers.

The most specific work (which I've only just googled for) is Seneca's On Anger. Please let me know what you think of it, I'm curious to know the results, and if it's helpful.

  • Seneca! thanks! I haven't thought of him! :) I'm going to study his reasonings. Then I'm going to find Maimonides' work. Thanks again!
    – sunrise
    Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 17:40

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