Stoicism and Emotion

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 15, 2008 - Psychology - 272 pages
On the surface, stoicism and emotion seem like contradictory terms. Yet the Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome were deeply interested in the emotions, which they understood as complex judgments about what we regard as valuable in our surroundings. Stoicism and Emotion shows that they did not simply advocate an across-the-board suppression of feeling, as stoicism implies in today’s English, but instead conducted a searching examination of these powerful psychological responses, seeking to understand what attitude toward them expresses the deepest respect for human potential.

In this elegant and clearly written work, Margaret Graver gives a compelling new interpretation of the Stoic position. Drawing on a vast range of ancient sources, she argues that the chief demand of Stoic ethics is not that we should suppress or deny our feelings, but that we should perfect the rational mind at the core of every human being. Like all our judgments, the Stoics believed, our affective responses can be either true or false and right or wrong, and we must assume responsibility for them. Without glossing over the difficulties, Graver also shows how the Stoics dealt with those questions that seem to present problems for their theory: the physiological basis of affective responses, the phenomenon of being carried away by one’s emotions, the occurrence of involuntary feelings and the disordered behaviors of mental illness. Ultimately revealing the deeper motivations of Stoic philosophy, Stoicism and Emotion uncovers the sources of its broad appeal in the ancient world and illuminates its surprising relevance to our own.
 

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Stoicism & emotion

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The Stoics, who flourished in ancient Athens and Rome for about 400 years, valued rational order, which they felt could nourish and shape human feeling and action. It is a canard-long since corrected ... Read full review

Contents

Emotion and Norms for Emotion
1
1 A Science of the Mind
15
2 The Pathetic Syllogism
35
3 Vigor and Responsibility
61
4 Feelings without Assent
85
5 Brutishness and Insanity
109
6 Traits of Character
133
7 The Development of Character
149
9 The Tears of Alcibiades
191
The Status of Confidence in Stoic Classifications
213
List of Abbreviations
222
Notes
223
Bibliography
257
Index Locorum
269
General Index
279
Copyright

8 City of Friends and Lovers
173

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About the author (2008)

Margaret Graver is professor of classics at Dartmouth College.

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