The Personalist Project

Comments (5)

Katie van Schaijik

#1, Jan 18, 2012 9:30am

Great post, Samantha!

This is a point a raised in the courtship class last night, when I laid an the rationale for a course devoted to courtship.  The topic is too easily dismissed as unserious, and it think it has a lot to do with this long-standing denigration of the role of the heart in human life.

This is also the basic error underlying a lot of bad teaching about courtship floating around out there: "Reason has to lead; emotions follow."

So, first you make a good decision to marry, then the appropriate emotions follow.

Jules van Schaijik

#2, Jan 19, 2012 8:28pm

Samantha, when you say that Hume and Rousseau view the passions as "vital", what exactly do you mean?

  • Vital in sense sense of having to do with the lived-body? Neither physical, nor spiritual, but somewhere in between?

Or do you mean that they find emotions "important"? If so, that can mean two different things:

  • Important in the sense of being a significant factor in human life. Hume is famous for saying that "reason is the slave of the passions". That gives them an important role in human life, but not a very exalted one.
  • Important in the sense of having great nobility or high rank. That, clearly, is von Hildebrand's view.

Or do you mean something else altogether?

Jules van Schaijik

#3, Jan 19, 2012 8:37pm

P.S. I am not familiar with Nussbaum's Love's Knowledge but I am looking forward to reading it. (Katie already beat me to Amazon. Now I just have to make sure I'm home alone when the package arrives.) But I admire her later book Upheavals of Thought. Do you know it?

Samantha

#4, Jan 31, 2012 11:11am

 

Jules van Schaijik, Jan. 19 at 8:28pm

Samantha, when you say that Hume and Rousseau view the passions as "vital", what exactly do you mean?

Or do you mean that they find emotions "important"? If so, that can mean two different things:

  • Important in the sense of being a significant factor in human life. Hume is famous for saying that "reason is the slave of the passions". That gives them an important role in human life, but not a very exalted one.
  • Important in the sense of having great nobility or high rank. That, clearly, is von Hildebrand's view.

Jules, I mean that the passions are important in terms of accounting for human action. Rousseau gives an account of love/emotion as the catalyst for human language- as a desire, a passion rather than a primal necessity.

I mentioned Hume, which was added only for this post, as I recently read his essay, "Morality is Based on Sentiment," which interestingly places passion in an important role:

"Nothing is more usual in philosophy, and even in common life, than to talk of the combat of passion and reason, to give the preference to reason..."

Samantha

#5, Jan 31, 2012 11:25am

 

Jules van Schaijik, Jan. 19 at 8:28pm

Samantha, when you say that Hume and Rousseau view the passions as "vital", what exactly do you mean?.

  • Important in the sense of having great nobility or high rank. That, clearly, is von Hildebrand's view.

 He also states that: "Since a passion can never, in any sense, be called unreasonable, but when founded on a false supposition, or when it chooses means insufficient for the designed end, it is impossible, that reason and passion can ever oppose each other, or dispute for the government of the will and actions."

This makes me agree with your mention of importance in the first sense, that passions are vital but not in the "exalted" way of von Hildebrand. So, I should have clarified, or even taken out the mention of Hume in my introduction. Rousseau's ideas on emotions and love would be in accord with von Hildebrands, but not Hume's.

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