Aristotle on the Epistemic Role of Passion
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CitationMarechal, Patricia. 2018. Aristotle on the Epistemic Role of Passion. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractWhat are the passions? And what, if anything, do they have to do with our intellectual lives? I argue that, according to Aristotle, the passions are complex states that carry information about the value things have. More specifically, Aristotelian passions are constituted by fine-grained evaluative appearances—a kind of truth-apt, cognitive, yet non-rational representation that non-human animals also entertain.
Given that the passions are representations of value, they can be the basis for coming to know and understand the peculiar value of things. So, the passions can serve as grounds for intellectual achievements that are essential to a good life. In particular, I argue that, for Aristotle, the passions contribute substantively to three intellectual achievements that are required for a flourishing life: practical wisdom, certain instances of contemplation, and the appreciation of art.
Since Aristotelian passions carry rich information and discriminate value, they are cognitive states that can shape and enrich not only our lives as agents, but also our lives as knowers. The passions can play an epistemic role by serving as warrant for intellectually discerning the normative features of the situations we inhabit, the kinds of characters that surround us, and what is good and fine in them and us. Furthermore, in virtue of their epistemic role, the passions can be the basis for the intellectual aspects of a moral education.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41129175
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