Stoic passions - Deepstash
Stoic passions

Stoic passions



The Philosophy Of Alan Watts

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Stoic passions are various forms of emotional suffering in Stoicism. A passion is a disturbing and misleading force in the mind which occurs because of a failure to reason correctly. For Chrysippus, a famous Stoic philosopher, the passions are evaluative judgements. A person experiencing such an emotion has incorrectly valued an indifferent thing. A fault of judgement, some false notion of good or evil, lies at the root of each passion.


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These states of feeling are disturbances of mental health which upset the natural balance of the soul. They are harmful because they conflict with right reason. The ideal Stoic would instead measure things at their real value, and see that the passions are not natural. To be free of the passions is to have a happiness which is self-contained. There would be nothing to fear - for unreason is the only evil; no cause for anger - for others cannot harm you.


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The Stoics beginning with Zeno (the founder of the Stoic philosophy) arranged the passions under four headings:

  • Distress - an irrational contraction, or a fresh opinion that something bad is present, at which people think it right to be depressed
  • Fear - an irrational aversion, or avoidance of an expected danger
  • Lust - an irrational desire, or pursuit of an expected good but in reality bad
  • Delight - an irrational swelling, or a fresh opinion that something good is present, at which people think it right to be elated


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<p>Two of these passions (dist...

Two of these passions (distress and delight) refer to emotions currently present, and two of these (fear and lust) refer to emotions directed at the future. Thus there are just two states directed at the prospect of good and evil, but subdivided as to whether they are present or future.


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Numerous subdivisions of the same class are brought under the head of the separate passions.

  • Distress - envy, rivalry, jealousy, anxiety, depression
  • Fear - sluggishness, shame, fright
  • Lust - anger, rage, hatred
  • Delight - malice, rapture, ostentation


90 reads

The wise person is someone who is free from passions. Instead, the sage experiences good-feelings which are clear-headed. These emotional impulses are the correct rational emotions. The Stoics listed the good-feelings under the headings of joy, wish, and caution. Thus if something is present which is a genuine good, then the wise person experiences an uplift in the soul - joy. The Stoics also subdivided the good-feelings.

  • Joy - enjoyment, cheerfulness, good spirits
  • Wish - good intent, goodwill, welcoming, love
  • Caution - moral shame, reverence


80 reads

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