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Emotional Sinking In

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Publication details

JournalInquiry-An interdisciplinary journal of philosophy
DateAccepted/In press - 31 May 2022
Original languageEnglish


In reflecting on events of considerable significance, it is commonplace to remark that “it hasn’t sunk in yet” or “it’s still sinking in.” Such talk is sometimes associated with things seeming unreal, surreal, unfathomable, or somehow impossible. In this paper, I develop an account of what these experiences
consist of. First of all, I suggest that they involve explicitly acknowledging the reality of one’s situation, while at the same time experiencing it as inconsistent with the organization of one’s life. I go on to show how this tension is experienced dynamically, through disturbances of unfolding patterns of anticipation. I suggest that these patterns contribute to our grasp of what is and is not the case, thus accommodating the manner in which things can seem “unbelievable” or “unreal.”

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