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Aristotle's Practical Side: On His Psychology, Ethics, by William W. Fortenbaugh

By William W. Fortenbaugh

This quantity makes a speciality of Aristotle’s sensible philosophy. His research of emotional reaction takes satisfaction of position. it truly is by means of dialogue of his ethical psychology: the department of the human soul into emotional and deliberative parts.

Moral advantage is studied when it comes to emotion, and animals are proven to lack either emotion and advantage. other kinds of friendship are analyzed, and the consequences of vehemence, i.e., temperament are given targeted cognizance. Aristotle’s justification for assigning common slaves and ladies subordinate roles gets exact attention. an identical is right of his research of right and unsuitable constitutions. ultimately, persuasion is taken up from a number of angles together with Aristotle’s emphasis at the presentation of personality and his curious dismissal of supply in speech.

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In the case of anger, for example, we must distinguish how men prone to anger are disposed, at whom they are accustomed to be angry and on what grounds (1378a19– 24). The mention of objects (“at whom,” τ σιν) and grounds ( π πο οις) is important; it strongly suggests that Aristotle does not dissociate cognition from emotion. 33 For if he did conceive of emotions as mere sensations, he could not explain how emotions have objects and grounds. Stomach-aches, headaches, and other (bodily) sensations are not justified.

For it helps us to understand the importance of Aristotle’s analysis of emotion. As long as emotion went unanalyzed it was possible to look upon emotional appeal as a kind of persuasion distinct from and hostile to reasoned argumentation. 45 This comes out quite clearly in Gorgias’ Helen. Here emotion is depicted as something that happens to an individual. It is like a disease (ν σημα) in that its victims suffer a misfortune ( τ χημα) and are outside the sphere of praise or blame (19). Emotional response is not so much an action as an unfortunate affliction that may be induced or caused in an individual.

Adam, The Republic of Plato, 2nd edition (Cambridge: University Press, 1963) 342–343. 59 Cf. Rep. C. D. Woozley, Plato’s Republic, A Philosophical Commentary (London: Macmillan, 1964) 122. [69/70] aristotle’s rhetoric on emotions 37 We can, I think, say that tripartition failed to draw a clear distinction between emotional responses and bodily drives. Tripartition did not pick out clearly that class of π η that are marked by the involvement of cognition, that are characterized by grounds and objects.

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