David Konstan

Passion over Reason. Seneca's Stoic Dilemma

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Emotion; Impulse; Stoicism; Seneca; Rationality.

The Stoics argued that emotions were judgments; anger, for example, «does not venture anything on its own but only when the mind approves» (Seneca, De ira). But if this is so, why are emotions so hard to alter, as Seneca himself acknowledges? The answer proposed here is that the initial, pre-rational impulses that human being share with animals condition our reasoning, and prevent an objective evaluation of the circumstances. There is evidence for this view in Seneca's treatise "De ira", and it is illustrated dramatically in Seneca's tragedy, "Thyestes".

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