Self-Feeling pp 171-195 | Cite as

Appropriateness of Self-Feeling

  • Gerhard Kreuch
Part of the Contributions to Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 107)


This chapter explores if and to what extent self-feeling can go wrong. Notably, self-feeling cannot err in the awareness of mere existence. Whenever we have a self-feeling, this already entails our awareness that we exist. However, self-feelings can be called inappropriate based on the way they shape the overall experience of our individual lives. An appropriate self-feeling must display a middle way between being open to alternatives (criterion 1) and being stable over time (criterion 3). Also, appropriate self-feelings must enable openness to other people as people (criterion 2). In addition to these criteria coming from Ratcliffe’s theory of existential feelings, the philosophy of short-term, object-oriented emotions has additional criteria to offer for what they count as appropriate or inappropriate. First, the appropriateness of self-feelings can be evaluated with a look at its biological effects (criterion 4). Second, inappropriate self-feelings can harm our social fitness (criterion 5). Third, self-feelings need to display a certain amount of consistency with other mental states (criterion 6). Overall, six imperfect criteria are presented to evaluate the appropriateness of self-feelings. Importantly, there is no decisive, ultimate criterion to assess a particular self-feeling. All discussed criteria have their shortcomings. Nonetheless, in sum they can provide some guidance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard Kreuch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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