Dispassionate Passions*

Peter King

in Emotion and Cognitive Life in Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199579914
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745959 | DOI:
Dispassionate Passions*

Show Summary Details


The idea that passions of the soul can be dispassionate is examined. It originates in Antiquity with the Stoics and is developed in the Middle Ages by Augustine and Aquinas. The Stoics thought passions were dispassionate, partly because of their status as judgments, partly because the Stoic Sage was thought to experience the kind of emotional response that comes with wholehearted endorsement. Augustine rejects the Stoic account of passions but links the ideal of dispassionate passions to eternal blessedness. Aquinas allows for ordinary passions as part of the sensitive appetite, but insists that they can be replicated in a dispassionate form in the intellective appetite, as a kind of intellectualized volitional response. None of the formulations of the ideal of a dispassionate passion is entirely satisfactory, but each is insightful enough to reward our attention.

Keywords: angels; apatheia; Augustine; emotions; pseudopassions; Stoics; Thomas Aquinas; passions; will; dispassionate

Chapter.  12951 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.