Philosophical explorations: an international journal for the philosophy of mind and action
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Marguerite La Caze has recently published a stimulating analysis of the emotions of envy and resentment in which she argues that to envy others for a benefit they have received or to resent them for such a reason can be ethically acceptable in cases where that benefit has been unjustly obtained (La Caze, 2001). I question this on the ground that the judgement that the benefit has been unjustly obtained plays a more complex role in the structure of envy and resentment than La Caze allows and should alter the nature of the feeling that is evoked. From the perspective of virtue ethics there is nothing creditable about still feeling envy or resentment in such circumstances.