Tag Archives: Emotions

Contempt and Invisibilization

Jaffro, L. (2024). Contempt and Invisibilization. Philosophies, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies9020034 

Why is contempt seen as potentially lacking in the respect for persons and therefore prima facie subject to negative moral evaluation? This paper starts by looking at a distinctive feature of contempt in the context of thick relationships, such as those of friendship, close professional collaboration, or romantic love: there is an irreversibility effect attached to the experience of contempt. Once contempt occurs in a thick relationship, it seems very difficult to return to non-contemptuous reactive attitudes. The second part argues that the irreversibility effect is due to the fact that contempt is an affective attitude which tends to invisibilize the person who is the object of contempt. The tendency to invisibilize is inscribed in the intentional structure of contempt as well as in its motivational dimension. The final part explores some consequences of this hypothesis, and in particular argues that it also explains why contempt motivated by abject wrongdoing, as opposed to resentment, anger, or hatred, tends to block any process of forgiveness.

The Passions and Actions of Laughter in Shaftesbury and Hutcheson

L. Jaffro (2017). The Passions and Actions of Laughter in Shaftesbury and Hutcheson. In A. Cohen and R. Stern (eds.), Thinking About the Emotions. A Philosophical History. Mind Association Occasional Series, Oxford:Oxford University Press, 2017, 130-149. https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/oso/9780198766858.001.0001/oso-9780198766858-chapter-7

The third Earl of Shaftesbury and Francis Hutcheson considered laughter as a passion in its own right. The hilarious response is not reducible, as Hobbes believed, to the facial expression of the sudden awareness of our own superiority. Ridicule is however an important kind of laughter; it is also an action, part of a strategy against the seriousness of fanaticism. Shaftesbury gives much importance to the politics of laughter and to the caustic power of ridicule, but also to the capacity to laugh at one’s laughter, which is crucial to what he calls good humour. Hutcheson and Shaftesbury interestingly disagree on the question of how to regulate laughter and limit its abuse.

Shaftesbury’s Pathologia. In two parts

Ch. Maurer & L. Jaffro (2013). Reading Shaftesbury’s Pathologia: An Illustration and Defence of the Stoic Account of the Emotions. History of European Ideas, 39(2), 207-220. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01916599.2012.679795

L. Jaffro, Ch. Maurer & A. Petit (2013). Pathologia, A Theory of the Passions. History of European Ideas, 39(2), 221-240. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01916599.2012.679796

The present article is an edition of the Pathologia (1706), a Latin manuscript on the passions by Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713). There are two parts, i) an introduction with commentary (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01916599.2012.679795), and ii) an edition of the Latin text with an English translation (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01916599.2012.679796) . The Pathologia treats of a series of topics concerning moral psychology, ethics and philology, presenting a reconstruction of the Stoic theory of the emotions that is closely modelled on Cicero and Diogenes Lærtius. It contains a most detailed typology of the passions and affections as well as an analysis of a series of psychological connections, for example between admiration and pride. On the basis of his reconstruction of Stoic moral psychology and ethics, Shaftesbury argues that in one of his phases, Horace should be interpreted as a Stoic rather than as an Epicurean. The translation and the commentary draw attention to the relations between the Pathologia and Shaftesbury’s English writings, most importantly Miscellaneous Reflections and the Inquiry Concerning Virtue, or Merit, which sheds light on several features of Shaftesbury’s relation to Stoicism.