Princess Diana's death was a tragedy that provoked mourning across the globe; the death of a homeless person, more often than not, is met with apathy. How can we account for this uneven distribution of emotion? Can it simply be explained by the prevailing scientific understanding? Uncovering a rich tradition beginning with Aristotle, Daniel M. Gross' "The Secret History of Emotion" offers a counterpoint to the way we generally understand emotions today. Through a radical rereading of Aristotle, Seneca, Thomas Hobbes, Sarah Fielding, and Judith Butler, among others, Gross reveals a persistent intellectual current that considers emotions as psychosocial phenomena. The Roman Stoics, for instance, offer insight into the reasons political passions are distributed to some people but not to others. Contemporary theorists like Judith Butler, meanwhile, explain to us how psyches are shaped by power. To supplement his argument, Gross also provides a history and critique of the dominant modern view of emotions, expressed in Darwinism and neurobiology, in which they are considered organic, personal feelings independent of social circumstances.
The result is a convincing work that rescues the study of the passions from science and returns it to the humanities and the art of rhetoric.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 200
Weight: 378 g
Dimensions: 223 x 181 x 20 mm