Emotions and bodily feelings

Matthew Ratcliffe

in Feelings of Being

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780199206469
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754470 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Emotions and bodily feelings

Show Summary Details


This chapter examines recent philosophical accounts of emotion and feeling, in order to make explicit some commonplace assumptions concerning the nature of bodily feeling. I begin by outlining two contrasting views, one being that emotions are bodily feelings and the other that they are judgements. The problem is that emotions seem to be both, and so the question arises as to how the feeling component can be united with the cognitive component. One solution is to maintain that emotions have at least two distinct ingredients, but this view does not accord with the relevant phenomenology; feelings seem to permeate the world-directed aspect of emotion. I therefore explore the possibility that feelings might be more than just experiences of bodily states, by focusing on three recent approaches that attempt to unite feeling with intentionality. I argue that all are incomplete in certain important respects. The chapter concludes by identifying existential feelings as an important phenomenological category and suggesting that an overhaul of some deep-rooted philosophical assumptions is required if we are to understand them. Central to this overhaul is the abandonment of the distinction between cognition and affect.

Chapter.  11171 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.