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Passions and Persuasion in Aristotle's Rhetoric$
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Jamie Dow

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716266

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716266.001.0001

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Feeling Fantastic Again—Passions, Appearances, and Beliefs in Aristotle

Feeling Fantastic Again—Passions, Appearances, and Beliefs in Aristotle

(p.182) 10 Feeling Fantastic Again—Passions, Appearances, and Beliefs in Aristotle
Passions and Persuasion in Aristotle's Rhetoric

Jamie Dow

Oxford University Press

This chapter concerns how we should describe Aristotle’s view of the representations involved in human passions such as anger, pity, fear, and shame. It defends the view that, for Aristotle, being in a passionate state constitutes a kind of affirmation by the subject herself, not only by a part of her soul, of the way things are represented as being the way things are, and that the representations involved are the result of exercising phantasia, a capacity for storing and reusing sensory appearances. Given Aristotle’s understanding of the role of phantasia in the correctly functioning psychology of adult humans and other animals, this view of the passions brings with it resources for explaining the particular kinds of conflict that he recognizes as occurring between a person’s passions and their reasoned beliefs. Such a view, it is argued, fits well with Aristotle’s views on biology, ethics, and rhetoric. It also gives Aristotle a philosophically attractive view of the emotions, and in particular a plausible account of the defects involved in so-called ‘recalcitrant’ emotions.

Keywords:   Aristotle, passions, emotions, phantasia, appearances, doxa, reason, belief, psychology, ethics, rhetoric, affirmation, virtue, representation, content

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