From Ressentiment to Redemption
Chapter 2: The passion
David Hume posed the problem as a dilemma and, more, as a dictum or a prohibition: ‘Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them’ (Hume 1975: II, III, III). Three centuries of philosophical discussion around the question continues well into the 21st century (see for example, Prinz 2003), and we keep on getting caught in the dilemma, somehow or another. Either we say Hume is right and we are slaves of our passions or we say he is wrong and reason controls behavior. Theorists that agree with Hume maintain that emotions are not cognitive (from W. James (1884, 1894) and Lange (1922), to the more recent Damasio (1994) and Zajonc (1984)). Zajonc insists that emotions are phylogenetically and ontogenetically prior to cognitions. New scientific research in biochemistry, genetics, neurobiology, reveal biological bits (like genes, chemicals in the brain, neurological nets, metabolic cycles, etc.) and enforce Hume’s view of emotions as ‘passions’ which act without the control of reason, at least in the short term.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.