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Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy (Hardback)Susan James (author)
Hardback 328 Pages / Published: 16/10/1997
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Passion and Action explores the place of the emotions in seventeenth-century understandings of the body and mind, and the role they were held to play in reasoning and action. Interest in the passions pervaded all areas of philosophical enquiry, and was central to the theories of many major figures, including Hobbes, Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Pascal, and Locke. Yet little attention has been paid to this topic in studies of early modern thought. Susan James surveys the inheritance of ancient and medieval doctrines about the passions, showing how these were incorporated into new philosophical theories in the course of the seventeenth century. She examines the relation of the emotions to will, knowledge, understanding, desire, and power, offering fresh analyses and interpretations of a broad range of texts by little-known writers as well as canonical figures, and establishing that a full understanding of these authors must take account of their discussions of our affective life. Passion and Action also addresses current debates, particularly those within feminist philosophy, about the embodied character of thinking and the relation between emotion and knowledge. This ground-breaking study throws new light upon the shaping of our ideas about the mind, and provides a historical context for burgeoning contemporary investigations of the emotions.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 328
Weight: 660 g
Dimensions: 242 x 162 x 23 mm
When philosophers write about the importance of the emotions today, they usually begin by condemning earlier philosophers for separating the emotions from reason (and then all but ignoring them). Nothing could be further from the approach of Susan James ... in this beautifully written study. Her subtle and erudite interpretations of major texts of the seventeenth century show that the passions were at the heart of early modern philosophy ... her recovery of the treatment of the passions and of action in a wealth of authors from Descartes to Locke provides a perspective from which we can free ourselves a little from the unsatisfactory way we view the emotions today, and so enables us to think differently about their proper place in a sound human life. Her study also shows how early modern philosophers were open to and deeply influenced by areas of European culture other than philosophy where the emotions were at centre stage. * James Tully, Common Knowledge *
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