I guess anger is an abstract emotion of opposition without projection. Violence is projection of anger. I'm not sure about my self defined notions.

Can you explain difference(s) between the two using basic definitions?

  • Answer revised. – Geoffrey Thomas Jul 22 '18 at 8:08
  • Maybe it's better to ask this at psy.SE? Anger, indeed, is a mental state, while violence is a pattern of behaviour. Both mental states and behaviour patterns are studied within psychology. And... philosophy-of-language tag? – rus9384 Jul 22 '18 at 15:33

Nature of anger

I think there are three relevant points about anger. The first is, of course, that it is an emotion; the second is that it has cognitive preconditions. By this I mean that I can't just be angry with you as I might just be happy in your company. Anger has to be anger with or at someone (or even society or the world) for something I believe to be wrongful that they have done or allowed to happen. So, for instance, if I am angry, then I have to believe that I have been wronged, or someone else (or a sentient being such as an animal) has been wrongfully treated - and I am angry with the wrongdoer*s) or at what they have done or allowed to happen. I am angry with you because you have broken a promise to me or you have deceived me or I am angry at the unnecessary harm you have done to someone else. The list is indefinite but briefly and to repeat, to be angry I have to be angry with someone for what they have wrongfully done or allowed to happen.

Anger without violence

The third point is that any connexion between anger and violence is contingent. Violence can be 'a projection of anger' but it need not be. On the one hand my anger can find expression in ending a friendship, in telling someone (the guilty party) what I think of them, in venting to others what has happened to me or merely in storming out of the room. If I do choose to practise violence on the person I am angry with, this is only one option and one preferably to be avoided in normal circumstances. So there can be anger without violence.

Violence without anger

On the other hand, there can be violence without anger. In fact violence need not involve any emotion at all. I might indeed retaliate with violence if I am angry with someone or envious of them but I might equally be violent because I just want to be. I just want to hit someone, or smash a car window or (ghastly thought) to commit a sexual assault. I need not be angry with the person I hit or have any emotion in relation to them; they are just a convenient punchbag.

I have kept here to standard acts of violence. I have not considered conceptions of violence in which, for instance, pornography is violence against (usually) women. This is not because I resist or reject such conceptions but because I do not think you have them in mind in asking your question.

  • You can extend your scope of your annswer as you want. – Mr. Sigma. Jul 22 '18 at 8:08
  • BTW, I don't anyone would be violent without any reason. There must be some reasons although the violent one might not be aware of the reason. – Mr. Sigma. Jul 22 '18 at 8:34
  • I agree that no-one is likely to be violent without a reason unless they were in some clinical medical condition or some such. My point was just that anger doesn't necessarily express itself in violence; and whatever the reason for violence it need not be anger or any other emotion. Someone might be violent just to pass the time or in in obedience to an order from some authority. I'm sure many soldiers are violent towards 'the enemy' without hating the enemy, being angry with the enemy or having any emotion : they are ordered to kill, so they kill. Thank you for your vote and comment. : GT – Geoffrey Thomas Jul 22 '18 at 8:53
  • Two things: they might find it pleasurable to be violent, or violence could simply be a means to an end. In fact, there's the classic case of parents using corporal punishment, where ideally the parent should never be acting out of anger, but only in the best interest of the child. The other classic case is goverments/mob -- give me money or I do X, the goverment or mob isn't angry, but if they don't back it up, they have no authority. – Jmoreno Jul 22 '18 at 11:01

Violence, beyond not requiring anger, also have other sources.

Masochism, per Google, is "the tendency to derive sexual gratification from one's own pain or humiliation.". There is no anger at all, but a desire for sexualized gratification.


Anger is commmonly described as an emotion, or, more precisely, a secondary emotion. Anger can be instinctive - as when you swat a bee that has just stung you - or it can be the result of more complex mental processes, which may be rational or irrational.

Even seemingly rational anger may be irrational if based on faulty information. A common example is whipping citizens into a patriotic anger after claiming some violent act was a "terrorist act" committed by a nation the government or its controllers want to attack.

Some psychologist warn of the dangers of harboring anger, though there can also be positive benefits (provided the anger is rational). However, it's generally considered harmless to people other than the angry one(s), unless angry people telegraph their violence (e.g. a screwed up face or flushed cheeks), making other people uncomfortable.

Violence describes an act that hurts others. It's normally applied to interpersonal interactions, though a person can be violent against an animal or even the environment.

You state "Violence is a projection of anger."

That isn't necessarily true, because violence may or may not be associated with anger. For example, shooting a deer is a violent act, but deer hunters aren't necessarily viewed as angry. People can even kill other people without feeling angry, either rationally or irrationally.

However, violence isn't limited to murder or even physical assault. Words can be extremely potent weapons ("the pen is mightier than the sword"). People can hurt other people through the passage and manipulation of laws, which might be deemed violent. The people who pass and manipulate such laws may be deemed corrupt or evil, yet they may not be angry at all. On the contrary, they may laugh all the way to the bank.

Thus, some of the most violent people in the world may be perfectly happy (not angry) and may essentially be rational, though their ethical standards (or lack thereof) are scary.

In the political arena, anger can almost be thought of as a mathematical formula. If two people receive the same pay for the same amount of work, they may both be happy. But if a man is paid more than a woman, the latter may be angry at a perceived injustice.

Similarly, people are often angered at the perception that their lives are controlled by people who have more power than they do, especially if those people are unethical or even tyrannical.

Food for thought: If I'm angry at a person (Mr. X), and I see him walking down a sidewalk towards a board with a nail in it, and I don't warn him, have I committed a violent act if he steps on the nail? If I perpetuate a myth or belief system that demonizes the German people, Mexicans or Muslims, helping to perpetuate a harmful stereotype, am I guilty of violence?

It is for this reason that many politically astute people have an extreme hatred (an extreme form of anger) for the media. They don't get their hands dirty, yet they drag innocent people through the mud 24/7 and help start the dirty wars they never have to participate in. This begs the question, who's more violent, a U.S. soldier who slaughters an innocent Muslim or Latin revolutionary or the media rat who helps bring about the war in the first place?


I think the reaction is a continuity of action in the opposite direction of the action. Considering action being an activity repulsive to the cognizer, then violence by the cognizer is the reaction of the repulsive activity where anger acts as an intermediary stage between action and reaction.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.