Levels of Attunement. A Comment on Matthew Ratcliffe´s The Feelings of Being

Phenomenology, Psychiatry and the Sense of Reality. New York: Oxford University Press 2008 (309 pages)
  • Somogy VargaEmail author
Book Review

In Feelings of Being, one of the most recent publications in the IPPP series, Matthew Ratcliffe provides a detailed phenomenological investigation of a distinct category of existential feelings in everyday life and psychiatric illness. Ratcliffe´s book is divided into three parts, each dealing with issues of remarkable complexity and scope.


In Part I, Ratcliffe argues that recent interdisciplinary discussion of emotion is reduced either to pure bodily feeling (a position falsely attributed to James, as Ratcliffe convincingly demonstrates in chapter 8) or to cognitive judgments and appraisals (in the early work of Solomon). Even accounts that strive to unite cognition and affect do not really work out the difference between: “states that are intentionally directed at particular objects, events or situations in the world, and others that constitute backgrounds to all our experiences, thoughts and activities.” (37) The last mentioned category comprises the neglected phenomenological...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Arts and Cultural StudiesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Institut für Sozialforschung an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-UniversitaetFrankfurt am MainGermany

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