These emotions have to do with education rather than biological factors.
Aristotle’s notion of virtuous person is one that has good characters that come from
emotions. So he has high standards of which emotions are good and which characters
make one a virtuous person accordingly. Good characters can be attained through
training and education. Virtue, in other word, is a state of characters. Our dispositions
have to regulate our emotional state.
What is Rhetoric for Aristotle?
Rhetoric is defined as knowledge of means of persuasion.
What he’s trying to do here – is to arguably provide alternative account of higher moral
He is looking for what is appropriate or inappropriate appeal to emotion in political
speech. So it’s not just about whether or not you persuade one, but about you persuade
him in the right way.
3 types of speeches:
a) speeches made at the court; b) speeches made deliberately in politics; c)
speeches commemorating people
3 types of logics in giving a speech:
a) appeal through logic; b) appeal through characters (ethos) of the
individual giving the speech; c) appeal to emotion
You have to know who you are as a speaker, know the audience and the regime. Practical
judgment that is at play in speech-making. This is why it is key to understanding the
All these add up to analytic understanding of emotions
So how do we know the appropriateness?
Appeals to emotion that has nothing to do with the subject of the speech are just wrong.
According to Aristotle, good emotional appeals are relevant to the situations and
question and one that takes consideration all those factors (in the types of logics). Being
able to read your audience properly.
E.g. Anger is something that we focus on individuals rather than in general state of
Discussion of Fear:
Class Analysis: Those who are in conditions of comfortable life and prosperity and those
who had already gone through and have been immune to all the danger tend not to fear
as much as the middle class people.
Another interesting point; In situation of fear, individuals will think more to avoid the
evil in the hope of it can be avoided.
Contemporary behavioural theorist Marcus argues: anxiety actually increases
reflective citizenships, contributing to the making of democratic state.
Discussion of Pity (compassion):
What is essential to pity for Aristotle is that you will only pity someone if you can
identify the suffer of that person in relation to you.