Emotions and Personhood: Exploring Fragility - Making Sense of Vulnerability (International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry)

Emotions and Personhood: Exploring Fragility - Making Sense of Vulnerability (International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry)

Giovanni Stanghellini

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0199660573

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

How does a person experience emotions? What is the relationship between the experiential and biological dimensions of emotions? How do emotions figure in a person's relation to the world and to other people? How do emotions feature in human vulnerability to mental illness? Do they play a significant role in the fragile balance between mental health and illness? If emotions are in fact significant, how are they relevant for treatment?

Emotions and personhood are important notions within the field of mental health care. What they are, and how they are related though, is less evident. This book provides a framework for understanding this relationship. The authors argue for an account of emotions and personhood that attempts to understand human emotions from the combined approach of philosophy and psychopathology, taking its models particularly from hermeneutical phenomenology and from dialectical psychopathology. Within the book, the authors develop a basic set of concepts for understanding what emotional experience means for a human person, with the assumption that human emotional experience is fragile - a fact which entails vulnerability to mental disturbance.

Drawing on research from psychiatry, psychopathology, philosophy, and neuroscience, the book will be valuable for both students and researchers in these disciplines, and more broadly, within the field of mental health.















itself into a mood that imposes itself on me for days or even longer; for example, grief can turn into a general sadness, anger into dysphoria, and boredom into tedium. In a similar way, a mood may develop out of an affect as the affect itself loses its instantaneous, focused, and motivated character. Also, a mood might not be the product of a single affect and the following action or suppression of action, but a constellation of feelings caused by several episodes. Moods (e.g. irritability,

language through which we can appropriate our feelings about being who and what we are through an articulation of what we care about. This brings us to our final consideration about how the phenomenological categories of moods and affects may improve our language for emotions. We said that our theory is not meant as a wholesale rejection of other theories of emotion. On the contrary, our approach to emotions and personhood is closely linked to both the feeling theories and the cognitive theories

make me feel the world as real. Without emotions, the world appears as unreal, devoid of any EMOTIONS, HUMAN BEINGS, AND PERSONS interest and meaning. Without emotions, things that inhabit my lived space appear as mere objects, something that stands in front of me without any relation with my own body. Our emotions enable us to encounter objects in the world as things and persons which matter to us, that is, our experience becomes qualified by our emotional encounter with the world. Things do

‘the good life’. The Good Life We saw at the beginning of the previous chapter that human values are generated by two broad categories of desire, vital and spiritual ones, which inform and orient our engagement with the world, other people, and ourselves. These desires shape the affective dimension of the subjective experience in the form of feelings. Feelings are heterogeneous and generate a non-coincidence in the heart of the self that is felt as a conflict between a desire for

dimension of lack, the fact that we need friends; as a reaction to the effect of solicitude on self-esteem, the self perceives itself as another among others [un autre parmi les autres]. (1992, p. 192 [225]; translation slightly modified) The other considered as a person like me and yet autonomous with respect to me is constitutive for the idea of ‘the good life’. My concern for the other does not, or not only, originate in a desire to dominate the other, but in a lack in my own existence that

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