Toward a Phenomenology of Mood

Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (4):445-476 (2014)
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Martin Heidegger's account of attunement [Befindlichkeit] through mood [Stimmung] is unprecedented in the history of philosophy and groundbreaking vis-à-vis contemporary accounts of emotion. On his view, moods are not mere mental states that result from, arise out of, or are caused by our situation or context. Rather, moods are fundamental modes of existence that are disclosive of the way one is or finds oneself [sich befinden] in the world. Mood is one of the basic modes through which we experience the world and through which the world is made present to us. Moreover, moods are the lenses through which things, people, animals, events, and aspects in the world matter to us. In this paper, I make the case that Heidegger's insights with respect to mood can and ought to be extended beyond the narrow scope of his fundamental ontology in which they were developed. I argue that contemporary accounts of mood within psychology ought to take these Heideggerian insights seriously and use them when defining, studying, evaluating, and drawing conclusions about the nature of moods. There are three sections to my paper. In section 1, I delineate Heidegger's account of mood. In section 2, I turn to some key studies on mood in psychology, and I elaborate upon some of the main shortcomings in this literature. In section 3, I suggest how psychology might benefit from understanding and utilizing a Heideggerian-inspired phenomenology of mood.



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Lauren Freeman
University of Louisville

References found in this work

The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration.Peter Goldie - 2000 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The passions.Robert C. Solomon (ed.) - 1976 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.

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