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Part of the book series: Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind ((SHPM,volume 25))

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Abstract

Traditionally, anger tends to have a bad reputation because of its aggressive attitude, destructive tendency and inclination for conflict and violence. However one strand of ancient tradition considered it to be an energy that compels human beings to action, to reject injustice and to struggle for their dignity. The main aim of this chapter is to show the complexity of this multifaceted emotion from different perspectives, by comparing ancient and modern interpretations against the background of contemporary philosophical and empirical research. Hippocrates, Plato, and Aristotle provided the first conceptual pillars for any study of anger, linking it to the courage and dignity of the human being. Thomas Aquinas, too, recognized its positive role, when governed by reason. Descartes’ scientific attitude to the emotions, including anger, and the recognition of their utility for the individual body’s healthful survival, paved the way for all subsequent assessments of the affective sphere up to the present.

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Giacomoni, P. (2021). An Optimistic Anger? From Antiquity to Descartes. In: Giacomoni, P., Valentini, N., Dellantonio, S. (eds) The Dark Side: Philosophical Reflections on the “Negative Emotions”. Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind, vol 25. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55123-0_7

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