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It is popularly used to denote a feeling or type of personal relationship, amounting to more than goodwill or friendship. By ethical writers the word has been used generally of distinct states of feeling, both lasting and spasmodic; some contrast it with passion as being free from the distinctively sensual element. More specifically the word has been restricted to emotional states which are in relation to persons. In the former sense, it is the Greek pathos, and as such it appears in the writings of French philosopher René Descartes, Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and most of the writings of early British ethicists. On various grounds, however—e.g. that it does not involve anxiety or excitement, that it is comparatively inert and compatible with the entire absence of the sensuous element—it is generally and usefully distinguished from passion. In this narrower sense the word has played a great part in ethical systems, which have spoken of the social or parental affections as in some sense a part of moral obligation. For a consideration of these and similar problems, which depend ultimately on the degree in which the affections are regarded as voluntary.