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Robert C. Solomon, Not Passion's Slave: Emotions and Choice

 
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Robert C. Solomon, Not Passion's Slave: Emotions and Choice

Robert C. Solomon, Not Passion's Slave: Emotions and Choice


Oxford University Press | 2003
213 pages
PDF | 1.4 MB
ISBN 0195179781

The idea that we are in some significant sense responsible for our emotions is
an idea that Robert Solomon has developed for almost three decades. Here, in
a single volume, he traces the development of this theory of emotions and
elaborate it in detail. Two themes run through his work: the first presents
a "cognitive" theory of emotions in which emotions are construed primarily as
evaluative judgments. The second proposes an "existentialist" perspective in
which he defends the idea that, as we are responsible for our emotions.
Indeed, sometimes it even makes sense to say that we "choose" them.


While the first claim has gained increasing currency in the literature, his
claim about responsibility for emotions has continued to meet with
considerable resistance and misinterpretation. The new emphasis on
evolutionary biology and neurology has (mistakenly) reinforced the popular
prejudice that emotions "happen" to us and are entirely beyond our control.


This volume is also a kind of intellectual memoir of Solomon's own development
as a thinker. The essays written in the 1980s elaborate the themes of the
"intentionality" of emotion and the claim that emotions are "judgments"; in
this period, he is also increasingly preoccupied with how emotions vary and
are identified in a variety of cultures. In the 1990's, his interests evolve
to consider the social and political role of emotions and theories about
emotion. The final section presents his current philosophical position on the
seeming "passivity" of the passions. Despite his own critical assessment of
his earlier work, he continues to argue that, in the final analysis, we are
responsible for our emotions and existential quality of our lives.




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Tags: emotions, Solomon, Robert, theory, sense