Journals by scientific areas
Original scientific paper
Posidonius on Emotions and Non-Conceptual Content
; Department of Philosophy, Bilkent University, Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey
Fulltext: pdf (208 KB),
Pages 185 - 213
In this paper I argue that the work of the unorthodox Stoic Posidonius - as reported to us by Galen - can be seen as making an interesting contribution to contemporary debates about the nature of emotion. Richard Sorabji has already argued that Posidonius' contribution highlights the weaknesses in some well-known contemporary forms of cognitivism. Here I argue that Posidonius might be seen as advocating a theory of the emotions which sees them as being, in at least some cases, two-level intentional phenomena. One level involves judgments, just as the orthodox Stoic account does. But Posidonius thinks that emotions must also include an element sometimes translated as an "irrational tug". I suggest that we see the "irrational tug" as involving a second level of intentional, but non-conceptual representation. This view satisfies two desiderata: it is a view which would have been available to Posidonius and which is compatible with the views reported to us; and it is a view which is independently attractive. It also makes Posidonius' position less far removed from that of orthodox Stoics than it might otherwise do, while remaining genuinely innovative.
Emotions; Galen; "irrational tug"; non-conceptual content; Posidonius