Christof Rapp


Christof Rapp

Title : Aristotle’s definition and classification of the so-called „affections of the soul“


Abstract

Aristotle’s Rhetoric presents an admirably differentiated analysis of different types of emotions. The starting point for the discussion of each particular emotion is a definition that defines the various emotions in terms of pleasure and pain and with reference to the typical object of each emotion. Remarkably, we find similar definitions in his Topics, where the definitions of emotions are used to illustrate certain requirements for definitions in general. Hence, we have a clear link between the practice of defining emotions and Aristotle’s dialectic. Indeed, Aristotle explicitly refers to the dialectical character of the definition of emotions, when, at the beginning of De Anima, he contrasts the dialectical definition with the scientific physiological definition. Also, there seems to be a link between these dialectical definitions and Plato’s treatment of pleasures and pains that are directed at future or past goods or harms.

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