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  • 1. Svenaeus, Fredrik
    Alexithymia: A Phenomenological Approach1999In: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, ISSN 1071-6076, E-ISSN 1086-3303, Vol. 6, no 2, p. 71-82Article in journal (Refereed)
    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...

  • 2.
    Svenaeus, Fredrik
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge.
    Anorexia Nervosa and the Body Uncanny: A Phenomenological Approach2013In: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, ISSN 1071-6076, E-ISSN 1086-3303, Vol. 20, no 1, p. 81-91Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Anorexia nervosa is a disorder that is closely related to questions of selfhood and social roles. The pursuit of excessive thinness is part of a search for identity in which the control of the body—its size and needs— becomes central. This need for control appears to be triggered by a state of bodily alienation in which the body is perceived to be foreign and horrifying to its bearer. The relentless dieting and excessive exercise pursued by the anorexic person eventually leads to a state of starvation in which the relationship of control between the person and her body becomes reversed: the body now controls the thoughts, feelings and actions of the anorexic person in an uncanny and life threatening way. In this paper an attempt is made to better understand the ways in which the body becomes alien in anorexia nervosa by way of a phenomenological analysis. The analysis is exemplified and supported by stories told by girls suffering from the illness. The aim of the paper is to show that anorexia nervosa is neither a bodily dysfunction, nor a cultural product, only. Rather, the disorder is best understood as an illness in which the autonomous nature of one’s own body becomes overwhelming in a fatal and characteristic way. The different ways of becoming bodily alienated interact in anorexia in establishing an uncanniness of the body that is both conspicuous—to people around the ill person—and hard to escape—for the person herself.

  • 3.
    Svenaeus, Fredrik
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge.
    The Body as Alien, Unhomelike and Uncanny: Some Further Clarifications2013In: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, ISSN 1071-6076, E-ISSN 1086-3303, Vol. 20, no 1, p. 99-101Article in journal (Refereed)
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