PATHOS is ‘passion’. This ancient Greek idiom also indicates ’emotion’ or one of the conditions following <horme>. Actually <horme> is ‘impulse’ and it is common that an emotion or a sentiment (<pathos>) follows an impulse. For instance, I might have the ‘impulse’ of enjoying an ice-cream. Following such an ‘impulse’ I might feel desire, voluptuosness, nostalgia (thinking of a memorable ice-cream of my past). Or I could feel frustration because no ice-cream is available and handy.

Many philosophers reveal profound preoccupations with passions and emotions. Stoics, in particular, consider feelings and sensations very dangerous if not under control. Their worries arise because affections are usually strong. Hence, they are impetuous enough to derail human conduct away from wisdom, justice, courage and temperance (the four cardinal virtues).

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Philosophers’ warnings against the perils of passions are always vigorous. Also they recommend a serious training (<askesis>) in order for the individuals to reach the highest possible level of self-control.

<Pathos> is ‘passion’. But the management of passions neither means their sedation nor their annulment. In fact, it is perfectly acceptable to have intense feelings which prove one’s vitality. Unacceptable is being governed by passions. For instance, doing something which our intellect knows is wrong but comes out of our emotions.

For the Sophist Gorgias, speakers capture and conduct their audiences in any direction by using <pathos>. In Encomium of Helen, he says that people feel specific sentiments because of some words. Certain words are bringers-on of pleasure and takers-off of pain. “Just as different drugs draw off different humors from the body, and some put an end to disease or to life, so do discourses. Some give pain, others delight, others terrify, others arise hearers to courage, and yet others by a certain vile persuasion drug and trick the soul“.