chapter  5
1 Pages


In this case, the cost of giving Sam what she deserves is high enough that the best thing to do is to not give it to her. In a comparable manner, the costs imposed by the sanctioning function of the reactive emotions can mean that a deservingly expressed reactive emotion would be unjustified. To see this, suppose that shortly after Jesse tries to hurt your tenure case, you learn that he was denied tenure at his previous institution. This fostered a sense of diminished worth in him and he tries to compensate by ensuring that he is not shown up professionally. Further, you learn that Jesse’s anguish over his denied tenure has developed into full-blown depression, which has led him to contemplate suicide on more than one occasion. Learning these facts changes your feelings about the justification of expressing your resentment toward him. You realize that the negative feelings (shame, guilt) in Jesse that could result from showing your resentment could push him into a suicide attempt.17 Even though (we can suppose) he is still deserving of your expressed resentment, you try to hide it in your dealings with him. While an expression of resentment would still be deserved by Jesse, the costs of expression are high enough that they make expressing a reactive emotion unjustified.