Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (6):407-420 (2014)

Abstract
This article develops a phenomenology of suffering with an emphasis on matters relevant to medical practice and bioethics. An attempt is made to explain how suffering can involve many different things—bodily pains, inability to carry out everyday actions, and failure to realize core life values—and yet be a distinct phenomenon. Proceeding from and expanding upon analyses found in the works of Eric Cassell and Elaine Scarry, suffering is found to be a potentially alienating mood overcoming the person and engaging her in a struggle to remain at home in the face of loss of meaning and purpose in life. Suffering involves painful experiences at different levels that are connected through the suffering-mood but are nevertheless distinguishable by being primarily about my embodiment, my engagements in the world together with others, and my core life values. Suffering is in essence a feeling , but as such, it has implications for and involves the person’s entire life: how she acts in the world, communicates with others, and understands and looks upon her priorities and goals in life. Suffering-moods are typically intense and painful in nature, but they may also display a rather subconscious quality in presenting things in the world and my life as a whole in an alienating way. In such situations, we are not focused directly upon the suffering-mood—as in the cases of pain and other bodily ailments—but rather, upon the things that the mood presents to us: not only our bodies, but also other things in the world that prevent us from having a good life and being the persons we want to be. Such suffering may in many cases be transformed or at least mitigated by a person’s identifying and changing her core life values and in such a manner reinterpreting her life story to become an easier and more rewarding one to live under the present circumstances
Keywords Eric Cassell  Elaine Scarry  Mood  Lived body  Narrative  Transformation
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11017-014-9315-3
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,089
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The World According to Suffering.Antti Kauppinen - 2020 - In Michael S. Brady, David Bain & Jennifer Corns (eds.), The Philosophy of Suffering. London: Routledge.
The Phenomenology of Chronic Pain: Embodiment and Alienation.Fredrik Svenaeus - 2015 - Continental Philosophy Review 48 (2):107-122.
Conceptualizing Suffering and Pain.Noelia Bueno-Gómez - 2017 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 12:7.
What we talk about when we talk about pediatric suffering.Tyler Tate - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (4):143-163.

View all 21 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Animal Suffering: An Evolutionary Approach.Gill Aitken - 2008 - Environmental Values 17 (2):165-180.
On the Suffering of Compassion.Peter Nilsson - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (1):125-144.
Three Concepts of Suffering.Steven D. Edwards - 2003 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 6 (1):59-66.
The Phenomenon of Suffering and its Relationship to Pain.Eric J. Cassell - 2001 - In Kay Toombs (ed.), Handbook of Phenomenology and Medicine. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 371--390.
Human Suffering as a Challenge for the Meaning of Life.Ulrich Diehl - 2009 - Existenz. An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics, and the Arts.
Suffering, Meaning, and Bioethics.H. T. Engelhardt - 1996 - Christian Bioethics 2 (2):129-153.
The Sense of Suffering.Mary C. Rawlinson - 1986 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 11 (1):39-62.
Pain and Suffering: Körper Und Leib, and the Telos of Pain Care.James Giordano - 2012 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 19 (4):279-283.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-11-15

Total views
54 ( #208,305 of 2,499,007 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #421,180 of 2,499,007 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes