Body and world

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

Body and world

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The current chapter is mostly preparatory in nature and puts the last pieces of the phenomenological account into place. I begin by showing that what applies to tactile feeling applies to other kinds of feeling too. As in the case of touch, bodily feelings in general are seldom, if ever, just perceptions of internal bodily states. The distinction between localized and background feeling, which I made in the case of touch, has more general application too. I go on to note that the bodily nature of existential feeling serves to challenge any clear line that might be drawn between changed existential orientations in those illnesses that are labelled as ‘mental’ and in others that are labelled as ‘somatic’ or ‘bodily’. Following this, I further discuss the constituents of existential feeling and suggest that what unites them is that they all contribute to a sense of salient possibilities for acting and being acted upon, which structures all experience. To convey the way in which world-experience incorporates possibilities, I appeal to the concept of a horizon, as employed by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. The chapter concludes by indicating how an appreciation of the horizonal structure of experience might be applied to interpret some of the experiential changes involved in psychiatric illness. This sets the scene for a more detailed discussion of existential feelings in psychiatric illness, which will occupy Chapters 5 to 7.

Chapter.  15807 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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