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Phenomenology of Feeling

Phenomenology of Feeling

In much philosophical and scientific debate over the last few centuries, the concept of thought has taken precedence over that of feeling. Feeling has been considered  disreputable as an academic subject. This presents a problem for a field such as psychotherapy operating, as it does, in the flux of the relational field.

James emphasizes introspection as the key method of inquiry in psychology, perhaps most clearly in relation to phenomenology. Efforts at reflection on mental states lead to the conclusion that there are no conscious mental states without feeling. Feeling is inextricably bound with the concept of self and is necessary to any consideration of self. Conceptual language, in contrast, is not related in such a way to self. Rather we are "thrown" into a sea of language gradually appropriated and used by the self.

This paper cannot hope to cover its topic in a comprehensive way. Rather, through reference particularly to the work of James, Heidegger and Jung some tentative conclusions are reached about the relation of feeling, thought and language. In particular feeling is identified as the ground for a sense of self and for the flow of thought. The growth of self-feeling requires nurture in the relational field of self and other.

Speakers: Anthony Korner
Conference: Demo
Areas of Interest / Categories: Phenomenology