Everyday emotions and ethical emotions in Aristotle and Heidegger

Hélder Telo


This article studies an aspect of the relation between emotions and ethics that is usually neglected in the recent debate on moral emotions. By focusing on the contributions of common or everyday emotions to the development of moral behaviours and attitudes, the debate loses sight of the emotional side of the ethical attitude and the way it involves different, specifically ethical emotions. In contrast, such emotions play an important role in Aristotle’s and Heidegger’s thought. As will be shown, both authors identify emotions that are intrinsically tied to ethics in a broad sense and are structurally different from everyday emotions. Moreover, both characterize the two kinds of emotion in a similar fashion: where- as everyday emotions involve a limited form of activity and refer to a more immediate objective domain, the properly ethical emotions result from a superior form of activity and open up to a vaster domain or even to the entire reality, thus having a metaphysical character. The study of this distinction and what it involves will allow for a better understanding not only of emotions in general, but also of the emotional dimension of ethical life.

Keywords: affection, mood, virtue, authenticity, metaphysics.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4013/fsu.2020.212.11

ISSN: 1984-8234 - Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [Updated on September 23, 2016].

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