Apathy in the Shadow Economy of Emotion

in The Secret History of Emotion

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780226309798
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309934 | DOI:
Apathy in the Shadow Economy of Emotion

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This chapter takes the analysis of emotion one step further in the direction of the humanities by considering apathy as a productive political category rather than as a personal moral failing. Far from signaling a general retreat from politics, Stoic apathy in the work of Seneca and Hobbes's antagonist Henry More turns out to be a prerequisite for the distribution of political passions to some and not to others. Methodologically, this book is interested in how the explicit argument for or against the passions is cast and what textual strategies allow the explicit argument to function. Finally, the chapter considers why apathy does not fit comfortably into a scientific model of emotional universalism and expression, even when explained by Paul Ekman's “display rules’’ whereby the apparently stoic countenance of Japanese, for instance, can be dismissed as a cultural mask superimposed upon the emotional truth of a human nature equally shared by all.

Keywords: apathy; economy of emotion; moral failing; emotional universalism; emotional expression; human nature

Chapter.  12421 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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