THE PASSIONS by Robert C. Solomon


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Mr. Solomon wants to disabuse us of the notion that our emotions sweep through us out of control and that ""we just could not help it."" Not so, he says, the passions--i.e., emotions--represent value judgments with which we structure our subjective world, rendering our lives meaningful. Much vaunted reason is no more than the thinking of the passions. Hence the importance of discrimination, ethics, responsibility in our attitude to our emotions. ""The function of rationality is to distinguish among the passions rather than to react to them as an invading force from the id. . . ."" But in this professional philosopher's full-dress examination of its subject, occasional language like ""constitutive judgments"" and ""defining structures of our existence"" is mixed with much that could give effect to the author's intention ""to change people and let them become who they would be."" There is even some good counsel along with some ""rules of thumb,"" but despite this and the book's stimulus and engaging (fictional) cases, it is likely to flourish not so much with the general reader as with students--philosophy for use, Husserl with a difference, and a lively dissent from Camus' sense of the absurd.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Anchor/Doubleday