A critical examination of existential feeling
Saarinen, J. (2018). A critical examination of existential feeling. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 17 (2), 363-374. doi:10.1007/s11097-017-9512-4
Published inPhenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Springer. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Matthew Ratcliffe (2008, 2015) has argued that existential feelings form a distinct class of bodily and non-conceptual feelings that pre-intentionally structure our intentional experience of others, the world, and ourselves. In this article, I will identify and discuss three interrelated areas of concern for Ratcliffe’s theory of existential feelings. First, the distinct senses in which existential feelings are felt as background bodily feelings and as spaces of possibility calls for further clarification. Second, the nature of the suggested bi-directional relationship between existential feelings and intentional experience remains ambiguous. Third, viewed in light of existential guilt, the categorically non-conceptual nature of existential feelings may not be as definite as presumed. The aim of the article is to draw critical attention to aspects of the theory that would benefit from further development, and therefore, to advance the ongoing discussion about existential feelings.