Spinoza: Definitions of Affects

From Book III of Spinoza’s Ethics, translated by Edwin Curley, in order of their appearance. (I made this without realizing Spinoza himself recapitulates all the affects and their definitions at the end of Book III, and so didn’t quite go all the way through.)

Will.  When the mind strives to preserve itself, only with respect to itself. [Prop 9]

Appetite. When the mind strives to preserve both itself and the body in its being. [Prop 9]

Desire. Different from appetite only insofar as it is self-aware. Desire is appetite aware of itself. [Prop 9]

Joy. “By Joy, therefore, I shall understand… that passion by which the Mind passes to a greater perfection…” [Prop 11]

Sadness. “And [I understand] by Sadness, that passion by which it passes to a lesser perfection.” [Prop 11]

Pleasure/Cheerfulness. That affect of Joy that is related to the Mind and Body at once. [Prop 11]

Pain/ Melancholy. That affect of Sadness that is related to the Mind and Body at once. [Prop 11]

Love. Love is nothing but Joy with an accompanying idea of external cause. [Prop 13]

Hate. Hate is nothing but Sadness with an accompanying idea of external cause. [Prop 13]

Hope. “Hope is nothing but an inconstant joy which has arisen from the image of a future or past thing whose outcome we doubt.” [Prop 18]

Fear. “An inconstant sadness that has also arisen from a doubtful thing.” [Prop 18]

Confidence. Hope becomes confidence as the element of doubt is removed. [Prop 18]

Despair. Fear becomes despair as the element of doubt is removed. [Prop 18]

Gladness. “A joy which has arisen from the image of a past thing whose outcome we doubted.” [Prop 18]

Remorse. “A sadness which is opposite to gladness.” [Prop 18]

Pity. “Sadness that has arisen from injury to another.” [Prop 22]

Opposite of Pity. “By what name we should call the joy that arises from another’s good, I do not know.” [Prop 22]

Favor. “Love toward him who has done good to another.” [Prop 22]

Indignation. “Hate toward him who has done evil to another.” [Prop 22]

Envy. “Hate, insofar as it is considered so to dispose a man that he is glad at another’s ill fortune and saddened by his good fortune.” [Prop 24]

Pride. “A joy born of the fact that a man thinks more highly of himself than is just.” [Prop 26]

Overestimation. “The joy born of the fact that a man thinks more highly of another than is just.” [Prop 26]

Scorn. Thinking less highly of another than is just. [Prop 26]

Pity / Emulation. When we imagine something like us to be affected by an affect, we ourselves are similarly affected. When that imitation is related to sadness it is pity, when related to Desire, it is emulation. [Prop 27]

Benevolence. “This will or appetite to do good, born of our pity for the thing on which we wish to confer a benefit, is called Benevolence, which is therefore nothing but a Desire born of pity.” [Prop 27]

Ambition/ Human Kindness. “This striving to do something (and also to omit doing something) solely to please men is called Ambition, especially when we strive so eagerly to please the people that we do or omit certain things to our own injury, or another’s. In other cases, it is usually called human kindness.” [Prop 29] “This striving to bring it about that everyone should approve his love and hate is really Ambition” [Prop 31].

Praise/ Blame. “The Joy with which we imagine the action of another by which he has strived to please us I call Praise. On the other hand, the Sadness with which we are averse to his action I call Blame.” [Prop 29]

Love of Esteem, Shame / Self-esteem, Repentance. “Joy accompanied by the idea of an internal cause, we shall call love of esteem, and the Sadness contarary to it, Shame — I mean when the Joy or Sadness arise from the fact that the man believes that he is praised or blamed. Otherwise I shall call the Joy accompanied by the idea of an internal cause, Self-esteem, and the Sadness contrary to it, Repentance.

Jealousy. “This Hatred toward a thing we love, combined with Envy, is called Jealousy, which is therefore nothing but a vacillation of mind born of Love and Hatred together, accompanied by the idea of another who is envied.” [Prop 35]

*Longing. One doesn’t only desire a thing, but to desire it as when one’s desire was new. The sadness for the absence of such accidental causes of ones joy is longing. [Prop 36]

Timidity, A Sense of Shame, Consternation. “Further, this affect, by which a man is so disposed that he does not will what he wills, and wills what he does not will, is called Timidity, which is therefore nothing but fear insofar as a man is disposed by it to avoid an evil he judges to be future by encountering a lesser evil (see Prop 28). But if the evil he is timid toward is Shame, then the timidity is called a Sense of shame. Finally, if the desire to avoid a future evil is restrained by a Timidity regarding another evil, so that he does not know what he would rather do, then the Fear is called Consternation, particularly if each evil he fears is of the greatest.” [Prop 39]

Anger. “The striving to do evil to him we hate is called Anger.”

Vengeance. “The striving to return an evil done to us is called Vengeance.”

[Starting from here, I’m just grabbing from wikisource].

This mental modification, or imagination of a particular thing, in so far as it is alone in the mind, is called Wonder ; but if it be excited by an object of fear, it is called Consternation, because wonder at an evil keeps a man so engrossed in the simple contemplation thereof, that he has no power to think of anything else whereby he might avoid the evil. If, however, the object of wonder be a man’s prudence, industry, or anything of that sort, inasmuch as the said man, is thereby regarded as far surpassing ourselves, wonder is called Veneration ; otherwise, if a man’s anger, envy, &c., be what we wonder at, the emotion is called Horror. Again, if it be the prudence, industry, or what not, of a man we love, that we wonder at, our love will on this account be the greater (III. xii.), and when joined to wonder or veneration is called Devotion. We may in like manner conceive hatred, hope, confidence, and the other emotions, as associated with wonder ; and we should thus be able to deduce more emotions than those which have obtained names in ordinary speech. Whence it is evident, that the names of the emotions have been applied in accordance rather with their ordinary manifestations than with an accurate knowledge of their nature.

To wonder is opposed Contempt, which generally arises from the fact that, because we see someone wondering at, loving, or fearing something, or because something, at first sight, appears to be like things, which we ourselves wonder at, love, fear, &c., we are, in consequence (III. xv. Coroll. and III. xxvii.), determined to wonder at, love, or fear that thing. But if from the presence, or more accurate contemplation of the said thing, we are compelled to deny concerning it all that can be the cause of wonder, love, fear, &c., the mind then, by the presence of the thing, remains determined to think rather of those qualities which are not in it, than of those which are in it ; whereas, on the other hand, the presence of the object would cause it more particularly to regard that which is therein. As devotion springs from wonder at a thing which we love, so does Derision spring from contempt of a thing which we hate or fear, and Scorn from contempt of folly, as veneration from wonder at prudence. Lastly, we can conceive the emotions of love, hope, honour, &c., in association with contempt, and can thence deduce other emotions, which are not distinguished one from another by any recognized name.

When the mind contemplates its weakness it feels pain […] This pain, accompanied by the idea of our own weakness, is called humility ; the pleasure, which springs from the contemplation of ourselves, is called self-love or self-complacency. 

More on Cowardice and Consternation

Daring is the desire, whereby a man is set on to do something dangerous which his equals fear to attempt. Cowardice is attributed to one, whose desire is checked by the fear of some danger which his equals dare to encounter. Consternation is attributed to one, whose desire of avoiding evil is checked by amazement at the evil which he fears.

Explanation.—Consternation is, therefore, a species of cowardice. But, inasmuch as consternation arises from a double fear, it may be more conveniently defined as a fear which keeps a man so bewildered and wavering, that he is not able to remove the evil. I say bewildered, in so far as we understand his desire of removing the evil to be constrained by his amazement. I say wavering, in so far as we understand the said desire to be constrained by the fear of another evil, which equally torments him : whence it comes to pass that he knows not, which he may avert of the two.

%d bloggers like this: