I think "embody" should be used as "embody sth" or "be embodied in". So this sentence should be changed to "The passions – embodied in affects, desires, appetites – were forerunners ". Am I right?
But in holding that the Enlightenment was a movement of reason opposed to the passions, apologists and critics are two sides of the same coin. Their collective error is what makes the cliché of the ‘age of reason’ so powerful.
The passions – embodied affects, desires, appetites – were forerunners to the modern understanding of emotion. Since the ancient Stoics, philosophy has generally looked on the passions as threats to liberty: the weak are slaves to them; the strong assert their reason and will, and so remain free. The Enlightenment’s contribution was to add science to this picture of reason, and religious superstition to the notion of passionate enslavement.