Falsely, Sanely, Shallowly

International Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (1):139-156 (2005)
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Abstract

Our reluctance to demystify grief is a sign of the distinctive obligation and discomfort that people feel towards those who have died. These feelings, however, are instructive about the nature of grief. As a vehicle of a living person’s relation to the dead, grief is mysterious—and we are rightly reluctant to take that mystery away. But grief is not to be avoided by philosophy on that account. I defend a less Romantic view of grief, in which a grieving person’s experience of “normal” grief: 1) is felt to require an objectively recognized loss; 2) is felt to be dedicated to that lost object; 3) seems to most people to be something that she ought to feel; and 4) probably ought not to be medicalized, nor consequently medicated. This view of grief affords an understanding and appreciation of this rather special and important emotion without reducing its mystery.

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Janet McCracken
Lake Forest College

Citations of this work

Grief's Rationality, Backward and Forward.Michael Cholbi - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):255-272.
Grief and the Unity of Emotion.Matthew Ratcliffe - 2017 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 41 (1):154-174.
The Rationality of Grief.Carolyn Price - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (1):20-40.
On grief's sweet sorrow.Ashley Atkins - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):3-16.

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