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Not merely emotion: Reclaiming "passion" as a driver of human behaviour

By Andi Horvath

Philosopher of the emotions Prof Louis Charland argues that we need to reinstate the notion of "passion" in our understanding of human behaviour. Now little mentioned outside of the arts and self-help domains, passion has deep historical roots and may have important contemporary use as a lens through which to view certain psychiatric conditions.

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ANDI HORVATH

Hi, I'm Doctor Andi Horvath, thanks for joining us. Today we get up close to a human driving force, our passion. Consider the spectrum of your passion, it can range from a healthy motivation to an unhealthy obsession or even addiction. While the emotions that play a part in passion are central to the domains of psychology and psychiatry, passion itself seems to be taken seriously these days only in the arts and self-help literature. Our guest on this episode, philosopher of the emotions, Professor Louis Charland from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. He argues that passion, a term once used regularly by philosophers and medical scientists of long ago, continues to describe a human experience that is distinct from mere emotion. He says there's much to gain by reinstating the role of passion in our empirical understanding of the world.

Professor Charland is also known for reframing certain psychiatric and health problems, such as the potentially fatal condition of anorexia nervosa. He asks the question, what if anorexia nervosa wasn't a disorder, but in fact a passion. How would we rethink the diagnosis and, therefore, the treatment? Louis Charland is an...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.