From Passions to Emotions: The Creation of a Secular Psychological Category

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 5, 2003 - Political Science - 287 pages
Today there is a thriving 'emotions industry' to which philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists are contributing. Yet until two centuries ago 'the emotions' did not exist. In this path-breaking study Thomas Dixon shows how, during the nineteenth century, the emotions came into being as a distinct psychological category, replacing existing categories such as appetites, passions, sentiments and affections. By examining medieval and eighteenth-century theological psychologies and placing Charles Darwin and William James within a broader and more complex nineteenth-century setting, Thomas Dixon argues that this domination by one single descriptive category is not healthy. Overinclusivity of 'the emotions' hampers attempts to argue with any subtlety about the enormous range of mental states and stances of which humans are capable. This book is an important contribution to the debate about emotion and rationality which has preoccupied western thinkers throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and has implications for contemporary debates.


from passions and affections to emotions
2 Passions and affections in Augustine and Aquinas
passions sentiments and affections in the Age of Reason
David Hume Thomas Brown Thomas Chalmers
Alexander Bain Herbert Spencer Charles Darwin
6 Christian and theistic responses to the new physicalist emotions paradigm
7 What was an emotion in 1884? William James and his critics
how history can help us think about the emotions

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About the author (2003)

Dr Thomas Dixon is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Divinity and a fellow of Churchill College, University of Cambridge.

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