Passions and the Apparent Good

Jessica Moss

in Aristotle on the Apparent Good

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199656349
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742156 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

Passions and the Apparent Good

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This chapter and the rest of the book show how the notion of the apparent good, as interpreted in Chapter 3, is at work in Aristotle’s views about human motivation and human virtue. This chapter takes on a long-standing debate about Aristotle’s account of the passions, the non-rational emotions and desires central to ethical character. Using my analysis of the apparent good, the chapter argues that when Aristotle describes fear, shame, pity and other passions as involving appearances of things as good or bad, he means this to be taken literally: passions are based on evaluative phantasia. The chapter provides evidence from Aristotle’s psychology (he assigns the passions to a non-rational part of the soul), and from his descriptions of the passions in the Rhetoric (he characterizes them as involving perceptual pleasure or pain, and as involving exercises of quasi-perceptual visualization in memory, expectation, or imagination). The chapter considers the evidence that has led some interpreters to think that passions must instead depend on evaluative beliefs, and show how it should be accommodated.

Keywords: phantasia; emotion; passion; belief; imagination; stoics; assent

Chapter.  17394 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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