Robert Solomon on “who made me a radical.”

This quote is perfect for capturing the very human aspect of scholarly work. Robert Solomon writes this four years before his death about what made him over-state his views. This is self-critical and refreshing. Note especially the blame-shifting. Fantastic.

“It was John Rawls who made me a radical. It was more than twenty-five years ago, when I was just starting to think my way through The Passions, that Rawls and I were having lunch while we were both visiting the University of Michigan. I explained my blooming thesis to him, and he asked, rather matter of factly, ‘But surely when you say we choose our emotions you are saying something more than the fact that we choose what to do to bring about a certain emotion?’ This was John Rawls, whose Great Book had just been published, and I was not about to say, ‘Oh, well, yes, only that.’ Thus began a twenty-year stint of dramatic over-statement, to the effect of ‘we choose our emotions.’

Robert Solomon, “Emotions, Thoughts and Feelings: What is a ‘Cognitive Theory’ of the Emotions and Does it Neglect Affectivity?” in Philosophy and the Emotions, edited by Anthony Hatzimoysis, 16-17 (1-18).

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