CHAPTER VI
EMOTIONAL CONTENT

In a realistic ethics such as we are expounding, emotion is to be accepted as a substantial fact of experience. For purposes of general description, our treatment of the subject will differ in no respect from that of the writer of drama or romance. Thus, Achilles stands squarely before us as a master of the technique of arms and at the same time a character endowed with common human tendencies. Impelled by the temper of revenge, he withdraws abruptly from the field of battle, lodging a sharp complaint against Agamemnon, who had robbed him of his prize. The state of mind engendered embraces those persuasions to action which we ordinarily call emotions. We shall not attempt to settle the dispute which has raged within the borders of psychology for over a generation. Is emotion an independent act of consciousness which awakes response in the efferent nerve centers and issues at length in visible bodily behavior? Or, as James maintained, is it inseparably connected with physical changes, whether seen or unseen, and therefore identical with them? The Hellenic chief was unaware of the contradictory assumptions men might adduce to explain his attitude. What he knew was that the overlord had spoken and he must obey, but in his obedience wounded pride and vengeful feeling came to emphatic utterance.

The complex of emotion being taken as a determinable fact in behavior, it remains for us to state the particular problems which ethics must study and proceed to offer a solution.


1. Place of Emotion in Moral Experience.

The prime factor in the problem is the relation of emotion

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