Fear as Related to Courage: An Aristotelian-Thomistic Redefinition of Cognitive Emotions

  • Claudia Navarini Università degli Studi Europea, Rome (Italy)
  • Ettore De Monte Università degli Studi Europea, Rome (Italy)
Keywords: emotions, fear, courage, virtue ethics, philosophy of mind


The relationship between fear and courage has been discussed in terms of opposite though mutually involving notions. However, their link has not been inquired extensively. Recently, new light has been shed on the topic thanks to recent empirical evidence within emotion theories that stress the role played by perception and/or cognition in the experience of fear, as well as the role played by the “emotional virtue” of courage in fear regulation. Questions arise whether fear has a fundamentally perceptual structure or is a biologically-grounded natural kind, and whether such an emotion-related virtue as courage is intrinsically or extrinsically related to fear. This paper considers the last problem first, then enlarges the picture to fear modeling, finally drives some conclusions which aim at deepening the relationship between fear and courage. As a result, it emerges that the emotion of fear has a conceptual, emotional, situational and subjective dimension. Assuming fear as a possible emotional center within the subject’s cognitive experience, the virtue of courage appears to balance the excess and lack of fear, and is consequently related to rational thoughts and consistent behavior, laying the foundations for a new Aristotelian-Thomistic (A-T) account for it.

How to Cite
Navarini, C., & De Monte, E. (2019). Fear as Related to Courage: An Aristotelian-Thomistic Redefinition of Cognitive Emotions. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 12(35), 167-189. Retrieved from http://www.humanamente.eu/index.php/HM/article/view/263