On the Appropriateness of Grief to Its Object

Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-17 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

How we understand the nature and role of grief depends on what we take its object to be and vice versa. This paper focuses on recent claims by philosophers that grief is frequently or even inherently irrational or inappropriate in one or another respect, all of which hinge on assumptions concerning the proper object of grief. By emphasizing the temporally extended structure of grief, we offer an alternative account of its object that undermines these assumptions and dissolves the apparent problems. The principal object of grief, we suggest, is a loss of life possibilities, which is experienced, understood, and engaged with over a prolonged period. Other descriptions of grief's object identify more specific aspects of this loss in ways that do not respect a straightforward distinction between concrete and formal objects.

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Author Profiles

Matthew Ratcliffe
University of York
Louise Richardson
University of York
Becky Millar
Cardiff University

Citations of this work

Grief, Continuing Bonds, and Unreciprocated Love.Becky Millar & Pilar Lopez-Cantero - 2022 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 60 (3):413-436.
Absence experience in grief.Louise Richardson - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):163-178.
Grief as Attention.Michael Cholbi - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (9-10):63-83.
Phenomenological reflections on grief during the COVID-19 pandemic.Matthew Ratcliffe - 2023 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 22 (5):1067-1086.
Grief and the non-death losses of Covid-19.Louise Richardson & Becky Millar - 2023 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 22 (5):1087-1103.

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References found in this work

Regret, Resilience, and the Nature of Grief.Michael Cholbi - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (4):486-508.
Emotions and formal objects.Fabrice Teroni - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (3):395-415.
Emotions as Evaluative Feelings.Bennett W. Helm - 2009 - Emotion Review 1 (3):248--55.

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