1st Edition

A Phenomenological Analysis of Envy

By Michael Robert Kelly Copyright 2024

    This book provides a phenomenological analysis of envy. The author’s account takes a descriptive look at the whole experience of envy as it pertains to the envier’s sense of self and the envied.

    Philosophical work on envy has predominately focused on how the envier perceives, thinks about, or schemes against the person envied. This book proposes a phenomenological analysis of envy that articulates its essentially comparative character according to which we can further incorporate the role of the envier. This approach offers a novel contribution in three ways. First, it develops a notion of two predominant ways in which envy expresses itself: one that is bad for the envied and the other that is bad for the envier. Second, it renews the traditional defense of the view that envy is bad or vicious. Third, it provides original phenomenological descriptions of differences between envy and covetousness, indignation, emulation, ressentiment, and jealousy. By drawing on literary sources and social scientific literature, the author provides concrete examples of the lived experience of an envier.

    A Phenomenological Analysis of Envy will appeal to researchers and advanced students working in ethics, moral psychology, phenomenology, and philosophy of emotion.

    Introduction: A Basic Overview of Envy and Phenomenology

    Part I

    1. Phenomenology of Emotion and Self-Awareness in Envy

    2. An Envier Preoccupied with Himself in an Experience of Envy

    3. An Envier Preoccupied with the Other in an Experience of Envy

    Part II

    4. Envy and Covetousness

    5. Envy, Emulation, Indignation

    6. Envy and Ressentiment

    7. Envy and Two Types of Jealousy


    Michael Robert Kelly is Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Diego. He is author of Phenomenology and the Problem of Time (2016), editor of Bergson and Phenomenology (2010), and co-editor of Michel Henry: The Affects of Thought (2012), Early Phenomenology (2016), and Michel Henry’s Practical Philosophy (2022).