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Emotion and Peace of MindFrom Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation$
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Richard Sorabji

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256600.001.0001

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The Arts

The Arts

First Movements and Controversies on Drama and Music

(p.76) 5 The Arts
Emotion and Peace of Mind

Richard Sorabji (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

According to Seneca, the arts, including tragedy and music, can only produce first movements. So Aristotle's claim that tragedy and comedy produce catharsis by arousing emotion is wrong, as is Posidonius' belief in wordless music changing emotion without changing judgements. But, pace Seneca, there is a residue of cases of genuine emotion about the content of the play or about the melody, and a better defence of Stoicism in these cases would be that the relevant judgements are there. But when wordless music changes emotion, Posidonius prefers to say that the emotion is non-judgemental; Philodemus, his Epicurean contemporary, says that the emotion persists and one is merely distracted. The debate involved Pythagoreans, the Stoics Zeno and Diogenes of Babylon, and later Augustine.

Keywords:   Aristotle, catharsis, tragedy, Seneca, Posidonius, Philodemus, Zeno, Pythagoreans, Augustine

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