On Grief and Mourning: Thinking a Feeling, Back to Bob Solomon

Sophia 50 (2):281-301 (2011)
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The paper considers various ruminations on the aftermath of the death of a close one, and the processes of grieving and mourning. The conceptual examination of how grief impacts on its sufferers, from different cultural perspectives, is followed by an analytical survey of current thinking among psychologists, psychoanalysts and philosophers on the enigma of grief, and on the associated practice of mourning. Robert C. Solomon reflected deeply on the 'extreme emotion' of grief in his extensive theorizing on the emotions, particularly in his essay 'On Grief and Gratitude', commenting that grief is 'often described as a very private, personal emotion, characterized by social withdrawal and shutting oneself off from the world' (2004: 73). While dialoguing with the spirit of Solomon by way also of a tribute to his immense insights, the paper engages in critical reflections on recent thinking in this area elsewhere - notably, in Heidegger, Freud, Nussbaum, Casey, Gustafson, and Kristeva - and offers a refreshing critique toward an alternative to the received wisdom



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