Philosophy has as much to do with feelings as it does with thoughts and thinking. Philosophy, accordingly, requires not only emotional sensitivity but an understanding of the emotions, not as curious but marginal psychological phenomena but as the very substance of life. In this, the second book in a series devoted to his work on the emotions, Robert Solomon presents a defense of the emotions and of sentimentality against the background of what he perceives as a long history of abuse in philosophy and social thought and art and literary criticism. The title piece reopens a classic debate about the role of sentimentality in art and literature. In subsequent chapters, Solomon discusses not only such "moral sentiments" as sympathy and compassion but also grief, gratitude, love, horror, and even vengeance. He also defends, with appropriate caution, the "seven deadly sins." The emotions, at least some emotions--are essential to a well-lived life. They are or can be virtues, features of the human condition without which civilized life would be unimaginable.
Oxford University Press; August 2004
- ISBN: 9780198033288
- Read online, or download in secure PDF format
- Title: In Defense of Sentimentality
- Author: Robert C. Solomon
Imprint: Oxford University Press
In The Press
"In Defense of Sentimentality is witty, funny and surprising and a great read for philosophers and non-philosophers alike. Having a sense of humor, says Solomon, is divine. The way Solomon uses a sense of humor to come to the defense of emotions not always considered in the need of defense, really is divine." - Metapsychology Online Reviews
"In Defense of Sentamentality does not merely outline a philosophy of the heart; in defending the legitimacy of passionate experience, it also makes an articulate plea in favor of putting the heart back in to philosophy." --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"Solomon's book is a rich, provocative, and far-ranging work filled with helpful examples from daily life, literature, and the history of philosophy."--Thomas Nadelhoffer, Philosophical Psychology
About The Author
Robert C. Solomon was Quincy Lee Centennial Professor of Philosophy at University of Texas at Austin, and author of Living with Nietzsche, The Joy of Philosophy, In the Spirit of Hegel, From Hegel to Existentialism, Continental Philosophy Since 1750, among others.