Absence experience in grief

European Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):163-178 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this paper, I consider the implications of grief for philosophical theorising about absence experience. I argue that whilst some absence experiences that occur in grief might be explained by extant philosophical accounts of absence experience, others need different treatment. I propose that grieving subjects' descriptions of feeling as if the world seems empty or a part of them seems missing can be understood as referring to a distinctive type of absence experience. In these profound absence experiences, I will argue, the absence of a person as a condition on various possibilities is made manifest in the structure of experience over time. Thus, by paying close attention to grief, we can see that even accounts of absence experience that are presented as in competition with one another may not be so, and that to explain all kinds of absence experience we sometimes need to appeal to something overlooked in other accounts, and which is neither straightforwardly perceptual or cognitive. I also suggest that we would have good reason to take such experiences to be part of and not merely psychological effects of grief.

Similar books and articles

Ongoing: On grief’s open-ended rehearsal.Line Ryberg Ingerslev - 2017 - Continental Philosophy Review 51 (3):343-360.
Neither Here nor There: On Grief and Absence in Emerson's "Experience".Ryan White - 2009 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 23 (4):285-306.
Horror Films and Grief.Jonny Lee & Becky Millar - 2021 - Emotion Review 13 (3):171-182.
Falsely, Sanely, Shallowly.Janet McCracken - 2005 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (1):139-156.
A new theory of absence experience.Laura Gow - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):168-181.
Presence in absence. The ambiguous phenomenology of grief.Thomas Fuchs - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (1):43-63.
Grief's Rationality, Backward and Forward.Michael Cholbi - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):255-272.


Added to PP

512 (#34,423)

6 months
202 (#12,331)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Louise Richardson
University of York

Citations of this work

Communing with the Dead Online: Chatbots, Grief, and Continuing Bonds.Joel Krueger & Lucy Osler - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (9-10):222-252.
On Perceiving Abs nces.Achille C. Varzi - 2022 - Gestalt Theory 44 (3):213-242.
Temporal Perspectives and the Phenomenology of Grief.Jack Shardlow - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-22.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Phenomenology of perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945/1962 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
The mess inside: narrative, emotion, and the mind.Peter Goldie - 2012 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Consciousness and the World.Brian O'Shaughnessy (ed.) - 2000 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.

View all 36 references / Add more references