Injury, Illness, and the Phenomenology of Loss: A Dialogue

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This paper explores similarities and differences between grief over the death of a person and other experiences of loss that are sometimes termed “grief”, focusing on the impact of serious illness and bodily injury. It takes the form of a dialogue between a physician/neurophysiologist and a philosopher. Adopting a broad conception of grief, we suggest that experiences of lost or unrealised possibilities are central to all forms of grief. However, these unfold in different ways over prolonged periods. Experiences of grief are complex, diverse, difficult to articulate, and frequently under-acknowledged. This diversity, we note, complicates discussions of how to distinguish typical from pathological forms of grief. We raise the concern that thinking of grief through the lens of bereavement eclipses other circumstances in which people are required to comprehend and adapt to loss. With this lack of acknowledgement, the phenomenology of grief is characterized in ways that are overly tidy and people are deprived of important interpretive resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-174
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Consciousness Studies
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022

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