Philosophical Psychology with Political Intent

Michael A. Neblo

in The Affect Effect

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780226574417
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226574431 | DOI:
Philosophical Psychology with Political Intent

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This chapter describes how three philosophers' thinking about the emotions continues to be relevant for political psychology, arguing that philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and David Hume were systematic thinkers who grounded their ethical and political theories in a descriptive psychology of human experience. Plato's analysis of regime types in terms of modal motivating emotions points toward a kind of comparative or historical political psychology. Aristotle tries to work more cooperatively with human nature as he finds it in his psychology, and the consequence is that he countenances regimes which strike us as more plausible as well. Hume's thoroughgoing psychological naturalism, along with his attack on religious dogmatism, were in themselves part of his political theory. The impulse to theorize in systematic ways, to do psychology with political intent, serves to advance both the science of psychology and the political goals that it might serve.

Keywords: emotions; political psychology; Plato; Aristotle; David Hume; political theory; descriptive psychology; psychological naturalism; religious dogmatism

Chapter.  9759 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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