Aristotle’s Thumos: Shame, Anger, Honor, and Community w/ Victor Saenz
Victor Saenz, Lecturer at Rice University, visits The Stoa to discuss the undefined role thumos in Aristotle's thought.
"One of three basic types of desire, claims Aristotle, is thumos (‘spirit,’ ‘passion,’ ‘heart,’ ‘anger,’ ‘impulse’). The other two are epithumia (‘appetite’) and boulêsis (‘wish,’ ‘rational desire’). Yet, he never gives us an account of thumos; it has also received relatively little scholarly attention. I argue that thumos has two key features. First, it is able to cognize what I call ‘social value,’ the agent’s own perceived standing relative to others in a certain domain. In human animals, shame and honor are especially important manifestations of social value. Second, thumos provides non-rational motivation to pursue what affirms the agent’s social value and avoid what denies it."