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The Passions: A Study of Human Nature

ISBN: 978-1-119-44046-8
472 pages
January 2018, Wiley-Blackwell
The Passions: A Study of Human Nature (1119440467) cover image

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A survey of astonishing breadth and penetration. No cognitive neuroscientist should ever conduct an experiment in the domain of the emotions without reading this book, twice.

Parashkev Nachev, Institute of Neurology, UCL

There is not a slack moment in the whole of this impressive work. With his remarkable facility for making fine distinctions, and his commitment to lucidity, Peter Hacker has subtly characterized those emotions such as pride, shame, envy, jealousy, love or sympathy which make up our all too human nature. This is an important book for philosophers but since most of its illustrative material comes from an astonishing range of British and European literature, it is required reading also for literary scholars, or indeed for anyone with an interest in understanding who and what we are.

David Ellis, University of Kent

 

Human beings are all subject to boundless flights of joy and delight, to flashes of anger and fear, to pangs of sadness and grief. We express our emotions in what we do, how we act, and what we say, and we can share our emotions with others and respond sympathetically to their feelings. Emotions are an intrinsic part of the human condition, and any study of human nature must investigate them. In this third volume of a major study in philosophical anthropology which has spanned nearly a decade, one of the most preeminent living philosophers examines and reflects upon the nature of the emotions, advancing the view that novelists, playwrights, and poets – rather than psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists – elaborate the most refined descriptions of their role in human life.

In the book’s early chapters, the author analyses the emotions by situating them in relation to other human passions such as affections, appetites, attitudes, and agitations. While presenting a detailed connective analysis of the emotions, Hacker challenges traditional ideas about them and criticizes misconceptions held by philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive neuroscientists.

With the help of abundant examples and illustrative quotations from the Western literary canon, later sections investigate, describe, and disentangle the individual emotions – pride, arrogance, and humility; shame, embarrassment, and guilt; envy and jealousy; and anger. The book concludes with an analysis of love, sympathy, and empathy as sources of absolute value and the roots of morality.

A masterful contribution, this study of the passions is essential reading for philosophers of mind, psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists, students of Western literature, and general readers interested in understanding the nature of the emotions and their place in our lives.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgements

Part I Sketching the Landscape

Chapter 1 The Place of the Emotions among the Passions

1. Passions, affections, and appetites

2. Agitations and moods

3. Emotions

Chapter 2 The Analytic of the Emotions I

1. The representation of emotions

2. The language of the emotions

3. Expressions and manifestations of emotion

4. Emotion, cognition, and the will

Chapter 3  The Analytic of the Emotions II

1. The epistemology of the emotions

2. Emotion and reason

3. The place of the emotions in human life

Chapter 4 The Dialectic of the Emotions

1. The Cartesian and empiricist legacies and their invalidation

2. Philosophical and psychological confusions: James

3. Neuroscientific confusions: Damasio and the somatic marker hypothesis

4. Evolutionary accounts of the emotions: Darwin and Ekman

5. The quest for basic emotions

Part II Human, All Too Human

Chapter 5 Pride, Arrogance, and Humility

1. The web of pride

2. Shifting evaluations of pride

3. Pride: connective analysis

Chapter 6 Shame, Embarrassment, and Guilt

1. Shame cultures and guilt cultures

2. Shame and embarrassment: connective analysis

3. Guilt: connective analysis

Chapter 7  Envy

1. Envy and jealousy: a pair of vicious emotions.

2. Envy and jealousy: conceptual unclarity

3. Envy and jealousy: their conceptual roots

4. Envy: iconography, mythology, and iconology

5. Envy: connective analysis

Chapter 8  Jealousy

1. Different centres of variation

2. Iconography

3. Jealousy: connective analysis

4. Jealousy and envy again

Chapter 9  Anger

1. The phenomena of anger

2. The vocabulary of anger

3. Anger: connective analysis

4. Conceptions of anger in antiquity

5. Is acting in anger warranted?

Part III The Saving Graces: Love, Friendship, and Sympathy

Chapter 10 Love

1. Concepts and conceptions of love

2. The biological and social roots of love

3. The objects of love

4. Historico-normative constraints

5. The phases of love

6. The web of concepts of love

7. The iconography of love

8. Connective analysis I: categorial complexity

9. Connective analysis II: peculiarities of love as an emotion

10. Connective analysis III: some characteristic features of love

11. Self-love

Chapter 11 Friendship

1. Friendship and love

2. The roots and marks of different forms of friendship

3. Analysis of the relation

4. Friendship, virtue, and morality

Chapter 12 Sympathy and Empathy

1. Sympathy: the historical background

2. The analysis of sympathy

3. Empathy: from Einfühlung to mirror-neurons

4. Empathy and sympathy

5. Envoi

Appendix Moments in the History of Love

1. The history of love

2. Ancient Israel

3. Ancient Greece

4. From pagan Rome to Christian Rome

5. Early Christianity

6. The deification of love

Index

 

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Author Information

P.M.S. Hacker is the leading authority on the philosophy of Wittgenstein. He is Emeritus Fellow at St John's College, Oxford University, where he was a Tutorial Fellow in philosophy from 1966 to 2006, and has held visiting chairs in North America and both British Academy and Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships. He is the author of nineteen books and over 150 papers, and has written extensively on the philosophy of Wittgenstein, the history of analytic philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and cognitive neuroscience.

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