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The phenomenological method (or rather, methods) has been fruitfully used in exploring the experience of illness in recent years. However, the role of illness is not limited to that of a passive object for phenomenological scrutiny. I propose that illness, and pathology more generally, can be developed into a phenomenological method in their own right. I claim that studying cases of pathology, breakdown, and illness offer illumination not only of these experiences, but also of normal function and the tacit processes that underpin it. In particular, I claim that the study of embodiment can be greatly enhanced, and indeed would be incomplete, without examination of bodily breakdown and what I term bodily doubt. I offer an analogy between illness and Husserl’s epoché, suggesting that both are a source of distancing, and therefore motivate a reflective stance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
I thank the Wellcome Trust for funding the research for this paper via the Life of Breath Senior Investigator award (www.lifeofbreath.org , Grant Number 103340). I am grateful to several people who discussed the ideas in this paper with me, in particular to Tom Baldwin, Matthew Ratcliffe, Michael Brady and Ian James Kidd. I am also grateful to audiences at the Northern Phenomenology Network meeting 2019, York, and the Scottish Philosophical Association meeting, Aberdeen 2019, for helpful feedback on this paper. I thank the editors, Anthony Fernandez and Steven Crowell, for their generous and helpful feedback on the paper.
© 2021, The Author(s).
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- 1 Finished
1/10/14 → 31/03/20