Pain, disturbance and “bad things”

The link between Aristotle’s two definitions of shame quoted in the last post is the phrase “pain or disturbance.”  If shame is fear of disgrace, then it follows that shame would involve these two elements of Aristotle’s definition of “fear,” which is “pain or disturbance due to imagining some destructive or painful evil in the future.”  (R. ii.5 1381a22)

There is another common feature of fear and shame that gets somewhat obscured by the English translation.  In the definition of shame in the preceding post, Aristotle is translated as saying that shame is “in regard to bad things.”  In the definition of fear just quoted, he is translated as saying that fear is “due to imagining some destructive or painful evil.”  In Greek, both sentences use the same word kakōn, pl. kaká. In the definition of shame, “bad things” are literally “phenomena bearing bad” phainómena phérein kakōn.   We fear destructive or painful bad kakoū phthartikoū ē lúpēroū.

These observations provide the next three steps in our path from the pain of aphasia to the aphasia of pain.  The next number of posts will address

  • pain
  • disturbance, and
  • bad things.

In the title of this post I put “bad things” in quotation marks.  All three nouns require yellow flags.  We will be talking more about what we do than about states or things.


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