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Pathos Phaulon: Aristotle And The Rhetoric Of Phthonos

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows how Aristotle argues in the Rhetoric that bad (phaulos) character is a crucial criterion for distinguishing phthonos within the group of emotions relating to others? good or bad fortune. This distinction survives the intellectual shift to the ?doctrine of the mean? in the Nichomachean Ethics, but there phthonos becomes a paradigm of badness (kakos) in which an ethically uneducated person feels excessively the otherwise acceptable emotion nemesis (?indignation?). The chapter explains how Aristotle?s ethical training can remove badness from one?s character, showing that such training stops one feeling phthonos but still allows other (good) emotions pertaining to others? fortunes. It demonstrates how phthonos? badness creates problems for the use to which Aristotle would like to put emotions in rhetoric?namely, affecting an audience?s judgment?and explores alternative uses an Aristotelian orator might make of the Rhetoric?s chapter on phthonos.

Keywords: Aristotle; nemesis ; phaulos; phthonos; rhetoric



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