Awe: An Aristotelian Analysis of a Non-Aristotelian Virtuous Emotion

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While interest in the emotion of awe has surged in psychology (especially positive psychology), philosophers have yet to devote a single self-standing article to awe’s conceptual contours and moral standing. The present article aims to rectify this imbalance and begin to make up for the unwarranted philosophical neglect. In order to do so, awe is given the standard Aristotelian treatment to uncover its conceptual contours and moral relevance. Aristotelianism typically provides the most useful entry point to ‘size up’ any emotion – more problematically here, however, as Aristotle did not himself explicitly identify awe. The article critiques and proposes to improve upon existing psychological conceptual analyses of awe, probes the question why Aristotle ignored it and addresses an often-presumed link between awe and humility which bears on its moral status.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date30 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2017


  • Awe
  • Conceptual analysis
  • Aristotle
  • Humility
  • Moral worth


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