Grief Worlds: A Study of Emotional Experience

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book is a detailed, wide-ranging study of what it is to experience grief. All of us who care for others and outlive them will grieve. However, despite grief’s ubiquity, what it is to experience grief remains poorly understood. Grief can be bewildering, disorientating, and isolating; everything seems somehow different, in ways that are difficult to comprehend and describe. Why does the world as a whole look distant, strange, and unfamiliar? How can it be true that this has happened when it still seems utterly impossible? Grief thus raises a host of philosophical questions concerning how we experience, think about, and relate to the interpersonal world. By addressing these questions, Matthew Ratcliffe shows how philosophical—and more specifically phenomenological—enquiry can enhance our understanding of grief and vice versa. According to the account developed here, grief is a process that centrally involves experiencing, comprehending, and navigating a pervasive disturbance of one’s experiential world. Its course over time depends on ways of experiencing and relating to other people, both the living and the dead. Ratcliffe also provides us with a broader philosophical perspective for thinking about human emotional experience, one that emphasises dynamic, interpersonally structured, temporally extended processes as opposed to brief episodes.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge, MA
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages300
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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