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March 2016
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LiBRI: From Passion to Cynism in Peter Shaffer’s Equus

The present paper plans to offer a diagram of Dixon’s From Passions to Emotions: The Creation of a Secular Psychological Category and Pugmire’s Sound Sentiments: Integrity in the Emotions, underlining the chronicled development and drop of feelings into conceptual secularization and the way of passionate indecencies, separately. The hypothetical foundation gave will serve as methodological structure for the second part of this paper will rotate around Peter Shaffer’s play Equus (1973) and the interests and affections, and additionally dissatisfaction, negativity and renunciation showed by the two primary characters: a young man named Alan Strang and his mid life therapist Martin Dysart.

Equus by Peter Shaffer
Equus by Peter Shaffer

Interests, affections, hankerings, sentiments and assessments are all hypothetical projections that give testimony regarding the complex and mind boggling nature of mental states frequently messed under the single, over-comprehensive term feelings. The familiarity with the extensive variety of human mental experience that has customarily been undermined and dominated by its more “illuminated” and charged partner, reason, has revived the enthusiasm of researchers in the course of the most recent couple of decades. What are these feelings and by what method would they be able to be represented? It is safe to say that they are causes or impacts, latent or dynamic, ethical or awful? Thomas Dixon and David Pugmire are among the especially persuasive scholars that have handled such issues and conveyed important commitments to the developing field of emotion study.

Thomas Dixon approaches the study of emotions from an intellectualhistorical stance, exploring the changes in worldview that have led to the creation and consolidation of this psychological category.

To him, the secularization of brain science was the prime purpose behind the eighteenth and nineteenth century vocabulary changes with respect to human sentiments: the religiously mixed ‘interests and affections of the spirit’ came to be alluded to as feelings and thusly activated disarray, uncertainty and misconception.

From Passions to Emotions reveals insight upon the significance of building a background marked by feelings in light of narrowing down the expression “feeling” – so as to separate between partitioned, here and there restricting mental marvels – and on extending the comprehension of “brain science” past the investigative world, in order to incorporate religious philosophy.

Thus, Dixon cautions against the risk of presentism – of specialists being excessively risen in their contemporary viewpoint on feelings to recognize that studies in this field did not begin with Charles Darwin or William James, have not generally been straight and exploratory, and have not generally imagined feelings as non-psychological, automatic expresses that are ethically and religiously free.

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Diana-Elena Melinte