FEELING WITHOUT THINKING: LESSONS FROM THE ANCIENTS ON EMOTION AND VIRTUE-ACQUISITION

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Abstract

Abstract: By briefly sketching some important ancient accounts of the connections between psychology and moral education, I hope to illuminate the significance of the contemporary debate on the nature of emotion and to reveal its stakes. I begin the essay with a brief discussion of intellectualism in Socrates and the Stoics, and Plato's and Posidonius's respective attacks against it. Next, I examine the two current leading philosophical accounts of emotion: the cognitive theory and the noncognitive theory. I maintain that the noncognitive theory better explains human behavior and experience and has more empirical support than the cognitive theory. In the third section of the essay I argue that recent empirical research on emotional contagion and mirroring processes provides important new evidence for the noncognitive theory. In the final section, I draw some preliminary conclusions about moral education and the acquisition of virtue.

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