Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2012


In many studies of Aristotle it is taken for granted that there is a relationship between the affections (pathē) and the dispositions (hexeis) with which they are associated, but how the process of passively reacting to particular circumstances (i.e. the event of a mere pathos) can turn into and generate a particular moral disposition to be affected is not explained. This paper seeks to offer a systematic exploration of the constitutive relationship between pathos and passive moral dispositions.

Appealing to Categories 8, we argue that two forms of qualitative change underlie the alteration from pathos to passive moral hexis: (1) natural pathē cause affective temperaments which influence our passive moral dispositions; (2) Aristotle’s discussion of an acquired bodily pathos causing a particular affective quality such as a tan skin in Categories 8 serves well as a more direct model for comprehending how frequent, consistent and habitual exposure to certain acquired and selected psychological pathē generates particular passive moral dispositions.


Pre-proof. Original article published in Ancient Philosophy, vol. 32 (2), Fall 2012, pp. 1-18

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