Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Malebranche on the Scope of the Passions

A legal contest takes place between two men to decide who owns a piece of land; they ought to produce only their titles and say only what is related to their case or what might improve it. Yet they never fail to slander one another, contradict each other's statements, contest trivial points, and complicate their case with an infinity of pointless details that obscure the main issue. In short, the influence of each of the passions is as great as the mental scope of those moved by them--i.e., if we think that something is in any way related to the object of our passions, the passions move us with regard to that object.

Malebranche, Search after Truth 5.7 (LO 372)

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