Posidonius on emotionsand non-conceptual content

Date
2011
Authors
Wringe, B.
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Source Title
Prolegomena
Print ISSN
1333-4395
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Society for the Advancement of Philosophy, Zagreb, Croatia
Volume
10
Issue
2
Pages
185 - 213
Language
English
Type
Article
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Abstract

In this paper I argue that the work of the unorthodox Stoic Posidonius - as reported to us by Galen - can be seen as making an interesting contribution to contemporary debates about the nature of emotion. Richard Sorabji has already argued that Posidonius' contribution highlights the weaknesses in some well-known contemporary forms of cognitivism. Here I argue that Posidonius might be seen as advocating a theory of the emotions which sees them as being, in at least some cases, two-level intentional phenomena. One level involves judgments, just as the orthodox Stoic account does. But Posidonius thinks that emotions must also include an element sometimes translated as an "irrational tug". I suggest that we see the "irrational tug" as involving a second level of intentional, but non-conceptual representation. This view satisfies two desiderata: it is a viewwhich would have been available to Posidonius and which is compatible with the views reported to us; and it is a view which is independently attractive. It also makes Posidonius' position less far removed from that of orthodox Stoics than it might otherwise do, while remaining genuinely innovative.

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Keywords
Emotions, Galen, Irrational tug, Non-conceptual content, Posidonius
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Published Version (Please cite this version)