Emotions in Medieval Thought

Peter King

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199235018
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Emotions in Medieval Thought

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No single theory of the emotions dominated the Middle Ages. Instead, there were several competing accounts, and differences of opinion—sometimes quite dramatic—within each account. Yet there is consensus on the scope and nature of a theory of the emotions, as well as on its place in affective psychology generally. For most medieval thinkers, emotions are at once cognitively penetrable and somatic, which is to say that emotions are influenced by and vary with changes in thought and belief, and that they are also bound up, perhaps essentially, with their physiological manifestations. This ‘mixed’ conception of emotions was broad enough to anchor medieval disagreements over details, yet rich enough to distinguish it from other parts of psychology and medicine.

Keywords: theory of the emotions; Middle Ages; affective psychology; medieval thinkers; conception of emotions; psychology

Article.  9706 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy

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