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Emotion and Peace of Mind: From Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation (Gifford Lectures)

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199256600
ISBN-10: 0199256608
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"...a truly remarkable history of the concept of 'will,' the most informative such history I have seen. Sorbji shows with exceptional clarity the complexity of the classical Greek vocabulary of 'willing,' and the consequences of Latin simplifications. Sorabji's book is an important contribution to the understanding of the history of the conceptualization of human emotions. It will be indispensable for future researchers in this area." --Journal of the History of Philosophy


"Sorabji's book is an insightful and compelling study of the emotions and their role in the psychology of human action and should be considered mandatory reading for anyone doing academic research on the analysis of the emotions in Hellenistic, late antique or early Christian philosophy."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review


"Another brilliant, astounding production, exciting in the breadth of its coverage, terrifying in the scope of its learning.... Rich, provocative, varied, and entertaining"--Tad Brennan, Philosophical Books


About the Author

Richard Sorabji is at Wolfson College, Oxford.
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Product Details

  • Series: Gifford Lectures
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199256608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199256600
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,898,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Jean-Francois Virey on December 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
What are emotions ? Are they felt movements occasioned or caused by our judgements, as held by the founder of the Stoic school, Zeno of Citium ? Are they our mistaken judgements themselves, accompanied by felt movements, as argued by his successor, Chrysippus ? Or do they sometimes originate in some irrational part of the self, as claimed by Posidonius, «the Stoic who deliberately reverted to Plato's tripartite psychology» ?

Should we eradicate them, as most Stoics and some Church Fathers advocated, or should we merely moderate them, as the Aristotelians and most Church Fathers held ?

And what methods of control and/or eradication are available to us ? What works and what does not ? Is it sufficient to reappraise the situations we are confronted with as indifferent and to consider it inappropriate to react emotionally to them, as Chrysippus taught ? Should our emotions be purged by catharsis as Aristotle believed ? Or should we play them off against each other in order to get rid of unwanted moods, as the Christian Desert Father Evagrius recommended ? Are some aspects of emotion- the so-called «first movements»- unavoidable, as modern neurophysiology seems to prove ? And do they pose a threat to the Stoic program of eradication, or can they be meaningfully defined away as non-emotions ?

These are some of the highly challenging questions Richard Sorabji, Professor of Ancient Philosophy at King's College London, addresses in this sweeping survey of classical theories of emotions and emotional control, from Plato to St Augustine.

The author himself is not a Christian : he rejects the doctrine of Original Sin, which he quaintly describes as «dear to Jerome and Augustine» ; defends «models of marriage more favourable [ ?
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Format: Paperback
I found this book very helpful in getting clear on the key controversies in stoic philosophy of mind.

My main reason for not giving this book a five-star rating is because I had the impression that the author could have made his points in far few words than he often did. The added verbiage made the book somewhat slow and tedious in a few parts, giving the impression that the author was more concerned with impressing the reader than with enlightening him. But all in all an informative work.
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