Aristotle's Definition, Causes Of Human Emotions

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According to Aristotle, pleasure can be created by certain natural onsets (emotions) that engage a person’s soul. In On Rhetoric near the end of Book 1, Aristotle defines pleasure as “a certain movement of the mind and a collective organization of sensual perception reaching into [an individual’s] fundamental nature” (87). He goes on to say that “movement into a natural state is thus necessarily pleasurable for the most part, and especially whenever a natural process has recovered its own natural state” (87). Aristotle continues with a discussion on how pleasure has many originations; some of the major variables he claims it stems from are changes, desires, habits and memories. All of these variables are considered pleasurable because they …show more content…
When someone is angry, it is their hope that through their retaliation against the person who has angered them, their enemy or offender will feel pain; it is the angered person’s desire that they feel pain. Aristotle makes this clear when he defines anger as “desire, accompanied by [mental and physical] distress, for apparent retaliation because of an apparent slight that was directed” (116). The pleasure is found in the imagination of the potential retaliation upon the person who has upset the angered. Next, Aristotle describes the state of peoples’ minds when they are angry. According to him, people become angry when they are distressed, and “the person who is distressed desires something” (118). So, through anger, which sparks desire, people find pleasure.
This pleasure can be used for the benefit of rhetoricians. He makes the direct connection to rhetoric when he addresses how someone can use anger in a speech; he states, “and it is clear that it might be needful in a speech to put [the audience] in the state of mind of those who are inclined to anger and to show one’s opponents as responsible for those things that are the causes of anger and that they are the sort of people against whom anger is directed” (120). So, according to Aristotle, rhetoric involves the possession of a great understanding of emotions, such as anger, and how they spark pleasure in

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