In BEING AND TIME, Heidegger famously notes that the analysis of the affects (pathe) has taken barely one step forward since book II of Aristotle’s RHETORIC (H139). This Hot Link is an essay on this subject published in Philosophy Today (Dec 2010) – click following here – AgostaHeideggerIssue4 2010-Agosta
The occasion for this reengagement with the possibility of a ‘step forward’ is the availability of Heidegger’s lecture course at the University of Marburg in 1924 on the Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy. This course includes a detailed analysis of book II of the RHETORIC as volume 18 of Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe (2002) just translated (2009). Here Heidegger’s penetrating but sparse remarks in BEING AND TIME on Befindlichkeit [‘affectivity’] are deepened and implemented in his reading of Aristotle’s RHETORIC.
The relevance of this reengagement is direct. The dominant view of the affects in contemporary philosophy is arguably the position that affects are an unclearly expressed proposition, including the cognitively articulated propositional attitude. The position of this short paper is that the modern propositional account of the affects is cleared away by and does not survive a reading of Heidegger’s volume 18 on book II of Aristotle’s RHETORIC.
Lest someone think this is a trivial matter, the long and distinguished tradition going back to the Stoics in which affects are indistinct cognitions that require clarification is well articulated in modern times by Anthony Kenny and then in Martha Nussbaum’s monumental Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. Please click on the above-cited essay for further details. Let me know what you think. Thanks!