The Moral Argument For Revenge


The Moral Argument For Revenge



We’ve been told time and time again that revenge is wrong, but is it? We’ve been taught that it’s savage, but if so, why do people turn to it so frequently? And, we’ve been encouraged to demand justice, even though most of us can’t tell the difference between it and vengeance. On this episode of Why? we’ll take a fresh look at one of the oldest practices in history, asking about the nature of revenge, honor, and the emotions that surround them both.

Thane Rosenbaum is an essayist, law professor, and author of the novels, How Sweet It Is!, The Stranger Within Sarah Stein, The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and Elijah Visible. His articles, reviews and essays appear frequently in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Haaretz, Huffington Post and Daily Beast, among other national publications. He moderates an annual series of discussions on culture, world events and politics at the 92nd Street Y called The Talk Show. He is a Senior Fellow at New York University School of Law where he directs the Forum on Law, Culture & Society. He is the author of Payback: The Case for Revenge and The Myth of Moral Justice: Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What’s Right. He is the editor of the anthology, Law Lit, from Atticus Finch to “The Practice,”: A Collection of Great Writing about the Law. His forthcoming book is entitled The High Cost of Free Speech: Rethinking the First Amendment.

Thane’s website can be found at


Media is loading

Publication Date



Institute for Philosophy in Public Life


Grand Forks, ND


Revenge ; Punishment--Philosophy ; Law and ethics



The Moral Argument For Revenge