Stoic passions

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Stoic passions are various forms of emotional suffering in Stoicism, a school of Hellenistic philosophy.

Primary passions[edit]

The Stoics named four primary passions. In On Passions, Andronicus reported the Stoic definitions of these passions (trans. Long & Sedley, pg. 411, modified):

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

Subdivisions[edit]

Numerous subdivisions of the same class are brought under the head of the separate passions. The definitions are those of the translation of Cicero's Tusculan Disputations by J. E. King.

Distress[edit]

Envy 
Envy is distress incurred by reason of a neighbor's prosperity.
Rivalry 
Rivalry is distress, should another be in possession of the object desired and one has to go without it oneself.
Jealousy 
Jealousy is distress arising from the fact that the thing one has coveted oneself is in the possession of the other man as well as one's own.
Compassion 
Compassion is distress arising from the wretchedness of a neighbor in undeserved suffering.
Anxiety 
Anxiety is oppressive distress.
Mourning 
Mourning is distress arising from the untimely death of a beloved object.
Sadness 
Sadness is tearful distress.
Troubling 
Troubling is burdensome distress.
Grief 
Grief is torturing distress.
Lamenting 
Distress accompanied by wailing.
Depression 
Depression is distress accompanied by brooding.
Vexation 
Vexation is lasting distress.
Despondency 
Despondency is distress without any prospect of amelioration.

Fear[edit]

Sluggishness 
Sluggishness is fear of ensuing toil.
Shame 
Shame is fear of disgrace.
Fright 
Fright is paralyzing fear which causes paleness, trembling and chattering of teeth.
Timidity 
Timidity is fear of approaching evil.
Consternation 
Consternation is fear upsetting the mental balance.
Pusillanimity 
Pusillanimity is fear following on the heels of fright like an attendant.
Bewilderment 
Bewilderment is fear paralyzing thought.
Faintheartedness 
Faintheartedness is lasting fear.

Lust[edit]

Anger 
Anger is lust of punishing the man who is thought to have inflicted an undeserved injury.
Rage 
Rage is anger springing up and suddenly showing itself.
Hatred 
Hatred is inveterate anger.
Enmity 
Enmity is anger watching as opportunity for revenge.
Wrath 
Wrath is anger of greater bitterness conceived in the innermost heart and soul.
Greed 
Greed is insatiable lust.
Longing 
Longing is lust of beholding someone who is not present.

Delight[edit]

Malice 
Malice is pleasure derived from a neighbor's evil which brings no advantage to oneself.
Rapture 
Rapture is pleasure soothing the soul by charm of the sense of hearing.
Ostentation 
Ostentation is pleasure shown in outward demeanor and puffing oneself out extravagantly.

References[edit]

  • Cicero, Marcus Tullius (1945 c. 1927). Cicero : Tusculan Disputations (Loeb Classical Library, No. 141) 2nd Ed. trans. by J. E. King. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP.
  • Long, A. A., Sedley, D. N. (1987). The Hellenistic Philosophers: vol. 1. translations of the principal sources with philosophical commentary. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

External links[edit]