The Emotions of the Ancient Greeks: Studies in Aristotle and by David Konstan

By David Konstan

It's in most cases assumed that no matter what else has replaced concerning the human because the sunrise of civilization, uncomplicated human feelings - love, worry, anger, envy, disgrace - have remained consistent. David Konstan, notwithstanding, argues that the sentiments of the traditional Greeks have been in a few major respects diversified from our personal, and that spotting those modifications is necessary to realizing old Greek literature and tradition. With the sentiments of the traditional Greeks, Konstan reexamines the normal assumption that the Greek phrases designating the sentiments correspond roughly to these of at the present time. underneath the similarities, there are amazing discrepancies. References to Greek 'anger' or 'love' or 'envy,' for instance, ordinarily forget the truth that the Greeks themselves didn't use those phrases, yet fairly phrases of their personal language, corresponding to orge and philia and phthonos, which don't translate smartly into our glossy emotional vocabulary. Konstan argues that classical representations and analyses of the feelings correspond to a global of extreme pageant for prestige, and inquisitive about the attitudes, factors, and activities of others instead of on probability or normal occasions because the elicitors of emotion. Konstan uses Greek emotional strategies to interpret quite a few works of classical literature, together with epic, drama, historical past, and oratory. in addition, he illustrates how the Greeks' notion of feelings has anything to inform us approximately our personal perspectives, no matter if in regards to the nature of specific feelings or of the class of emotion itself

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It is not that Aristotle is right on the emotions and Darwin wrong, but rather that Aristotle's approach may better describe what the emotions meant in the social life of the classical city state, whereas Darwin's may be better suited to the way emotions are perceived in the modern, post-Cartesian universe. Aristotle's view of the emotions depends implicitly on a narrative context. The narrative context for an emotional display provides information on the stimulus, and thus shifts the emphasis back to the initial moment in the emotional process.

2, 1356al5-16: 'for we do not render judgments in the same way when we are suffering and rejoicing, or loving and hating'). Some scholars have supposed, accordingly, that the definition is tailored to the context, and does not represent Aristotle's view on the nature of emotion as such. Thus, Fortenbaugh (2002: 114) comments: The definition of emotions given in Rhetoric 2 is ... ' But I should like to suggest that, for Aristotle, the manipulation of emotions in forensic and deliberative contexts represents in a concentrated form the way emotions are exploited in social life generally.

In both cases, attention to expression in the arts seems to have run parallel to a similar concern in investigations of emotional psychology: both were focused on the individual manifestations of an array of archetypal sentiments. We shall return to this correspondence later in this chapter. Ekman's project of identifying universal expressions of emotions has been challenged from several quarters. Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson were among his early critics, maintaining that human behaviour, and emotions in particular, were almost infinitely malleable, and hence that culture was the decisive and indeed the unique determinant of such phenomena (for a summary of this debate, see Ekman 1998).

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