Theses Doctoral

Aristotle's Pathē: Why they Matter

Nathan, Usha Manaithunai

I inquire into the ethical significance of emotions in Aristotle’s thinking. Commentators who have thus far argued for the importance of emotions in Aristotle’s philosophy claim that they can be useful for ethical judgment or support premises of ethical reasoning.

I claim that (1) emotions are indispensable for good ethical discernment or, what we may call, moral perception and they usefully constrain the possibilities of action and deliberation. They are indispensable because they register ethically significant information in a unique way; they do so in virtue of their intensity, duration, and the felt quality of pain or pleasure associated with them. (2) Emotions are also necessary for good ethical judgment (gnōmē) in at least some cases in legal (and political contexts) especially where the law fails to provide sufficient guidance or when the relevant wrong is not yet conceptualised. In these cases, emotions, I argue, can be elicited in a non-coercive way that respects and even enlists the agency of the listener.


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2026-04-08.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Mann, Wolfgang R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 19, 2021