Abstract–Isocrates’ Theory of Goodwill (Eunoia) as a Precursor of Emotional Intelligence

Maria Xanthou

Εunoia is one of Isocrates’ core paideutic concepts. In my article, I aim to show that if Isocratean philosophical and rhetorical pedagogy is meaningfully modified and combined with eunoia into a nuanced system of Emotional Intelligence (EI), applicable to internal and international politics and public relations, then eunoia emerges as a versatile, multifarious and interactive emotion and concept. In that sense, it comprises a special emotional configuration, resulting from the cognitive appraisal of feelings as subjective experiences of emotional state, bodily symptoms, facial and vocal expressions and action tendencies. On the Peace and Antidosis present us with two different uses of eunoia-theory at a macro- and micro-level. In On the Peace Isocrates applies the theory of eunoia to interstate relations and contextualizes it within the causality of 5th and 4th c. BCE events. In Antidosis, he applies the same theory to the relation between an individual and the Athenians as a collective body in the form of an audience, either legislators or jurors.

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