Envy and jealousy

What is the difference between envy and jealousy? My son once asked me this question. He was only eight or nine, so I had to explain it in a way that he would understand. Here’s my answer:

"If I gave both you and your best friend Josh a Christmas present, but his was much nicer than yours and you were not happy about it, that's jealousy. It didn’t have to be Josh; it could be another friend and you would feel the same because your bad feeling had more to do with me than with Josh. Now suppose you and Josh were always competing with each other. If Josh won the Spelling Bee and you felt bad about it (though you might also be happy for him because he’s your friend), then that’s envy. It had to be Josh, for if someone else at your school had won the Spelling Bee, you would not have felt bad at all."

Correct me if my answer was wrong.

1 comment:

  1. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/envy/#1.2

    "Jealousy involves three parties, the subject, the rival, and the beloved; and the jealous person's real locus of concern is the beloved—the person whose affection he is losing or fears losing—not his rival. Whereas envy is a two party relation, with a third relatum that is a good (albeit a good that could be a particular person's affections); and the envious person's locus of concern is the rival."

    So jealousy is losing something or someone you already have whereas envy is coveting something or someone you don't have and someone else does. The object or good is the concern in the latter. It doesn't matter who the rival is.