Hume said that reason is the slave of the passions. In this case can we reason about the passions? What philosophers have taken steps in this direction.

I would finger freud, and maybe foucault with his history of sexuality, but then I'm only going by the title, and he may be addressing concerns entirely unconnected.

Finally would this go under the rubric of the philosophy of the mind? Is the mind the seat of passions?

  • I'd say it's not philosophy of the mind but philosophical anthropology, but I might be entirely wrong here. Either way, many philosophers had their thoughts on passions. A rather random suggestion: Hobbes. He has a very interesting theory about what they are and what to do with them. – iphigenie Dec 1 '12 at 18:12
  • I've only heard of Hobbes in connection with Leviathan, does he discuss them there? Philosophical anthropology is a good suggestion, intersubjectivity seems to be a key idea, one is not passionate in oneself, but in relation with another being. Scheler defines man as a 'loving animal' as opposed to plato conception as a rational one. He might be coming from a christian conception: I might replace it with a 'sensual animal'. – Mozibur Ullah Dec 1 '12 at 18:26
  • Yes, the first part of the Leviathan attends to anthropology and epistemology, and the passions and drives of humans are a very important topic. Also, at least my tutor says so, Hobbes can in that part be clearly read as "intersubjective", so maybe it suits your particular interest. – iphigenie Dec 1 '12 at 20:38

I think Phenomenology might be a good subject heading for "philosophy of the passions." Wikipedia's description:

In its most basic form, phenomenology thus attempts to create conditions for the objective study of topics usually regarded as subjective: consciousness and the content of conscious experiences such as judgments, perceptions, and emotions.

Husserl, and to a lesser extend Heidegger, are the philosophers most associated with phenomenology. You might also be interested in Sartre's The Emotions.

I think a lot of this subject is considered the realm of psychology these days.

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