Falsely, Sanely, Shallowly: Reflections on the Special Character of Grief

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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.
ISBN(s)
0739-098X
PhilPapers/Archive ID
MCCFSS-5
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Archival date: 2015-09-30
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2011-01-09

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