1st Edition

Cultivating Our Passionate Attachments

By Matthew J. Dennis Copyright 2021
    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    Does a flourishing life involve pursuing passionate attachments? Can we choose what these passionate attachments will be? This book offers an original theory of how we can actively cultivate our passionate attachments.

    The author argues that not only do we have reason to view passionate attachments as susceptible to growth, change, and improvement, but we should view these entities as amenable to self-cultivation. He uses Pierre Hadot’s and Michel Foucault’s accounts of Hellenistic self-cultivation as vital conceptual tools to formulate a theory of cultivating our passionate attachments. First, their accounts offer the conceptual resources for a philosophical theory of how we can cultivate our passionate attachments. Second, the exercises of self-cultivation they focus on allow us to outline a practical method though which we can cultivate our passionate character. Doing this brings out a significantly new dimension to the role of the passionate attachments in the flourishing life and offers theoretical and practical accounts of how we can cultivate them based on the Hellenistic conception of self-directed character change.

    Cultivating Our Passionate Attachments will be of interest to advanced students and scholars working in virtue ethics, moral philosophy, and ancient philosophy.


    Part I: Towards a Theory of Passionate Self-Cultivation

    1. The Value of Our Passionate Attachments

    2. The Value of Cultivating Our Passionate Attachments

    Part II: Enlisting the Resources of Hellenistic Philosophy

    3. Revaluing Hellenism

    4. Hellenistic Exercises of Self-Cultivation

    Part III: Cultivating Our Passionate Attachments

    5. A Theory of Cultivating Our Passionate Attachments

    6. Practices of Passionate Self-Cultivation for Contemporary Life

    Conclusion: Self-Cultivation in Practical Philosophy


    Matthew J. Dennis specialises in how technology can increase human flourishing, as well as in the ethics of AI and other emerging technologies. He currently holds a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship in the Department of Values, Technology, and Innovation at TU Delft.