Anthony Kenny

in The Metaphysics of Mind

Published in print September 1992 | ISBN: 9780192830708
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670527 | DOI:

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This chapter argues that a just philosophical understanding of the emotions has to do battle with an opposed Cartesian error. According to the Cartesian picture, an emotion is a purely private mental event which is the object of an immediate and infallible spiritual awareness. Emotion is merely contingently connected with its manifestation in behaviour: one might be certain about one's emotional life, according to Descartes, even if one was in doubt whether one had a body at all. Emotion is merely contingently connected with its object: Descartes believed that one could not be mistaken about the existence of a passion, while one may go wrong in assigning it a cause. A philosophical account of the affective life of the mind would need to make careful distinctions between various categories: feelings such as joy, moods such as depression, emotions such as love, attitudes such as admiration, virtues such as courage, and traits of character such as bashfulness.

Keywords: virtues; emotions; mood; feelings

Chapter.  6737 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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