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The Secret History of EmotionFrom Aristotle's Rhetoric to Modern Brain Science$
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Daniel M. Gross

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226309798

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226309934.001.0001

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Early Modern Emotion and the Economy of Scarcity

Early Modern Emotion and the Economy of Scarcity

(p.21) 1 Early Modern Emotion and the Economy of Scarcity
The Secret History of Emotion
University of Chicago Press

This chapter primarily deals with Aristotle's Rhetoric and Thomas Hobbes to outline a “political economy’’ wherein passions are constituted as differences in power, and conditioned not by their excess, but by their scarcity. Though the conclusions reached by Aristotle or Hobbes may be rejected, their rhetorical analysis of emotion allows the researchers to address important questions neutralized in the Cartesian paradigm. Descartes renders human nature in its quintessential modern form: it is something housed in a body and subject to the self-evidence of a descriptive science. According to Descartes, what we know is best established through introspection, and so is what we feel. Everyone has experience of the passions “within himself,’’ and therefore it is unnecessary to borrow one's observations from elsewhere in order to discover passion's nature.

Keywords:   passions, emotion, rhetorical analysis, Cartesian paradigm, Descartes, introspection

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