A critical examination of existential feeling
- 296 Downloads
Matthew Ratcliffe (2008, 2015) has argued that existential feelings form a distinct class of bodily and non-conceptual feelings that pre-intentionally structure our intentional experience of others, the world, and ourselves. In this article, I will identify and discuss three interrelated areas of concern for Ratcliffe’s theory of existential feelings. First, the distinct senses in which existential feelings are felt as background bodily feelings and as spaces of possibility calls for further clarification. Second, the nature of the suggested bi-directional relationship between existential feelings and intentional experience remains ambiguous. Third, viewed in light of existential guilt, the categorically non-conceptual nature of existential feelings may not be as definite as presumed. The aim of the article is to draw critical attention to aspects of the theory that would benefit from further development, and therefore, to advance the ongoing discussion about existential feelings.
KeywordsExistential feeling Bodily feeling Intentional experience Matthew Ratcliffe
I would like to thank Giovanna Colombetti, Matthew Ratcliffe, Jaakko Vuori, Nina Reiman, two anonymous reviewers, and academic audiences in Jyväskylä, Exeter, and Osaka for their extremely helpful comments on prior versions of this paper. I would also like to thank the Finnish Cultural Foundation for supporting my research financially.
- Benson, O., Gibson, S., & Brand, S. L. (2013). The experience of agency in the feeling of being suicidal. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20(7–8), 56–79.Google Scholar
- Bortolan, A. (2016). Affectivity and moral experience: An extended phenomenological account. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. Online first. doi: 10.1007/s11097-016-9468-9.
- Gerrans, P., & Scherer, K. (2013). Wired for despair: The neurochemistry of emotion and the phenomenology of depression. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20(7–8), 254–268.Google Scholar
- Guignon, C. (2009). The body, bodily feelings, and existential feelings: A Heideggerian perspective. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology, 16(2), 195–199.Google Scholar
- Heidegger, M. (1927/1996). Being and Time (Sein und Zeit), trans. J. Stambaugh. New York: SUNY.Google Scholar
- Manzotti, R. (2012). An externalist approach to existential feelings: Different feelings or different objects? In J. Fingerhut & S. Marienberg (Eds.), Feelings of being alive (pp. 79–99). Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
- McLaughlin, B. P. (2010). Monothematic delusions and existential feelings. In T. Bayne & J. Fernández (Eds.), Delusion and self-deception: Motivational and affective influences on belief-formation (pp. 139–164). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Ratcliffe, M. (2005). The feeling of being. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12(8–10), 43–60.Google Scholar
- Ratcliffe, M. (2010b). The phenomenology of mood and the meaning of life. In P. Goldie (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of philosophy of emotion (pp. 349–371). Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
- Ratcliffe, M. (2012). The phenomenology of existential feeling. In S. Marienberg & J. Fingerhut (Eds.), Feelings of being alive (pp. 23–54). Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
- Ratcliffe, M. (2015). Experiences of depression: A study in phenomenology. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
- Saarinen, J. A. (2014). The oceanic feeling: A case study in existential feeling. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 21(5–6), 196–217.Google Scholar
- Svenaeus, F. (2013). Depression and the self: Bodily resonance and attuned being-in-the-world. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20(7–8), 15–32.Google Scholar
- Warsop, A. (2009). Existential feeling, touch, and ‘belonging’. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology, 16(2), 201–204.Google Scholar