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Alexithymia: A Phenomenological Approach
1999 (English)In: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, ISSN 1071-6076, E-ISSN 1086-3303, Vol. 6, no 2, 71-82 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper proposes a phenomenological understanding of alexithymia. The disturbance -- an inability to express feelings -- is presented, and conceptual problems concerning the diagnosis and theories of its etiology are discussed. In a survey of the clinical literature, explanatory theories suggested in the fields of neurophysiology and psychoanalysis are scrutinized. Three territories that fail to relate to each other in a proper way in the alexithymic personality type -- language, feeling, and body -- are by these means identified. In order to reach a coherent understanding of alexithymia, a phenomenological interpretation is developed with the aid of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. The hermeneutics of "being-in-the-world" that Heidegger outlines in his first important work, Sein und Zeit, is utilized to find a connection between body, feeling, and language as meaning-structuring phenomena. The "worldliness" of the alexithymic person is understood as a defective form of attunement, similar to what Heidegger develops as das Man. The analysis of this form of being-in-the-world makes it possible to understand alexithymia as a defective meaning structure that embraces the social communion of language as well as the living body of...

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1999. Vol. 6, no 2, 71-82 p.
National Category
Philosophy Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-8209DOI: 10.1353/ppp.1999.0025OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-8209DiVA: diva2:416837
Available from: 2011-05-13 Created: 2011-04-29 Last updated: 2016-10-10Bibliographically approved

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Svenaeus, Fredrik
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