On the Subject Matter of Phenomenological Psychopathology

In Giovanni Stanghellini, Matthew Broome, Anthony Vincent Fernandez, Paolo Fusar-Poli, Andrea Raballo & René Rosfort (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Phenomenological Psychopathology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 191–204 (2018)
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“On the Subject Matter of Phenomenological Psychopathology” provides a framework for the phenomenological study of mental disorders. The framework relies on a distinction between (ontological) existentials and (ontic) modes. Existentials are the categorial structures of human existence, such as intentionality, temporality, selfhood, and affective situatedness. Modes are the particular, concrete phenomena that belong to these categorial structures, with each existential having its own set of modes. In the first section, we articulate this distinction by drawing primarily on the work of Martin Heidegger—especially his study of the ontological structure of affective situatedness (Befindlichkeit) and its particular, ontic modes, which he calls moods (Stimmungen). In the second section, we draw on a study of grief to demonstrate how this framework can be used when conducting phenomenological interviews and analyses. In the concluding section, we explain how this framework can be guide phenomenological studies across a broad range of existential structures.

Author Profiles

Anthony Vincent Fernandez
University of Southern Denmark
Allan Køster
Aalborg University


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