•  827
    The psychiatric diagnostic system, as exemplified by the DSM, is a pseudo-scientific framework for diagnosing sick Cartesian isolated minds. As such, it completely overlooks the exquisite context sensitivity and radical context dependence of human emotional life and of all forms of emotional disturbance. In Descartes’s vision, the mind is a “thinking thing,” ontologically decontextualized, fundamentally separated from its world. Heidegger’s existential phenomenology mended this Cartesian subject…Read more
  •  517
    Emotional Phenomenology and Relationality: Forever the Twain Shall Meet
    Psychoanalytic Inquiry 39 (2): 123-126. 2019.
    For more than four decades, George Atwood and I have been absorbed in rethinking psychoanalysis as a form of phenomenological inquiry. In the course of this work, I repeatedly made the claim that phenomenology led us inexorably to relationality, but until now I did not offer an explanation of this inexorability. In this article, I show that emotional phenomenology and relationality always already form an indissoluble unity, because relationality is constitutive of emotional experience.
  •  505
    Phenomenological Contextualism and the Finitude of Knowing
    The Humanistic Psychologist 46 (2): 204-210. 2018.
    When faced with the complexity of an intersubjective system, in which one is oneself implicated, an epistemic humility that recognizes and respects the finitude of knowing is essential.
  •  432
    Phenomenology and Metaphysical Realism
    Existential Analysis 29 45-48. 2018.
    This article examines the relationship between totalitarianism and the metaphysical illusions on which it rests. Phenomenological investigation is claimed to loosen the grip of totalitarian ideology by exposing its origins in the “resurrective” illusions that seek to overcome the impact of collective trauma. Phenomenology is thus shown to have emancipatory power.
  •  346
    The Phenomenology of Language and the Metaphysicalizing of the Real
    with George E. Atwood
    Language and Psychoanalysis 6 (1): 04-09. 2017.
    This essay joins Wilhelm Dilthey’s conception of the metaphysical impulse as a flight from the tragedy of human finitude with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s understanding of how language bewitches intelligence. We contend that there are features of the phenomenology of language that play a constitutive and pervasive role in the formation of metaphysical illusion.
  •  278
    Planet Earth: Crumbling Metaphysical Illusion
    American Imago 77 (1): 105-107. 2020.
    The author develops the claim that humans characteristically maintain a sense of protectedness by creating various forms of metaphysical illusion, replacing the tragic finitude and transience of human existence with a permanent and eternally changeless reality. One such illusion forms around planet earth itself, transformed into an indestructible metaphysical entity. It has become increasingly difficult, in the face of the ravages of climate change, to maintain the illusion of earth’s indestruct…Read more
  •  164
    This book demonstrates how the authors have experienced the power of phenomenology in their therapeutic work with patients, especially those struggling with horrific trauma; in their encounters with psychological and philosophical theories; and in their efforts to comprehend destructive ideologies and the collective traumas that give rise to them. The Power of Phenomenology presents the trajectory of this work. Each chapter begins with a contribution written by one or both authors, extending the…Read more
  •  156
    Whence Heidegger’s Phenomenology?
    Human Studies 43 (2): 311-313. 2020.
    Scharff’s study of Heidegger’s earlier lectures and their debt to Dilthey’s phenomenology allow one to recognize the Diltheyan influences that pervade Being and Time, undistracted by Husserl’s super-Cartesianism.
  •  140
    The as-structure provided by language, even in the sciences, is always constitutive of experience and never merely designative. “From Saying…it comes to pass that the World is made to appear” (Heidegger 1971 [1957]: 101).
  •  125
    Faces of Finitude: Death, Loss, and Trauma
    Psychoanalytic Inq 41. 2021.
    In this article I offer some existential-phenomenological reflections on the interrelationships among the forms of love, loss, finitude, and the human ways of being.
  •  118
    Bewitching oxymorons and illusions of harmony
    with Atwood George E.
    Language and Psychoanalysis 10 (1): 1-4. 2021.
    In the present essay we explore a form of linguistic witchery (Wittgenstein) aimed at forging a sense of unity from incompatible visions of reality—namely, the formation of oxymoronic hybrids.
  •  107
    The Historicity of the A Priori
    Human Studies 35 (1): 131-135. 2012.
    De Mul’s central thesis is that Dilthey’s Critique of Historical Reason can be understood as a radicalization of Kant’s recognition of the contingency and finitude of human reason.
  •  97
    Heidegger’s Nietzsche, the Doctrine of Eternal Return, and the Phenomenology of Human Finitude
    Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 41 (1): 106-114. 2010.
    Nietzsche’s doctrine of the eternal return of the same, seen through the lens of Heidegger’s interpretation, captures the groundlessness of existence in a technological world devoid of normative significance. The author contends that the temporality depicted poetically in the thought of eternal return is the traumatic temporality of human finitude, to which Nietzsche was exposed at the age of 4 when the death of his father shattered his world. Nietzsche’s metaphysical position is seen as a metap…Read more
  •  84
    After noting how academic philosophers have shunned psychobiography, the author brings to focus the psychobiographical sources of Martin Heidegger's "turn" from a hermeneutic phenomenology to a form of metaphysical mysticism.
  •  69
    Heidegger, Mood, and the Lived Body: The Ontical and the Ontological
    Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts 13 (2): 5-11. 2014.
    Summary of claims: (1) One of the most important relationships between the ontical and the ontological in Heidegger’s thought is the central, ontologically revelatory role that he gives to moods. (2) Heidegger uses the word “mood” as a term of art to refer to the whole range of disclosive affectivity. (3) Because of the role that Heidegger grants to mood as a primordial way of disclosing Being-in-the-world, and because it is impossible to think mood without also thinking the lived body, Heidegge…Read more
  •  61
    Trauma and Human Existence effectively interweaves two themes central to emotional trauma--the first pertains to the contextuality of emotional life in general, and of the experience of emotional trauma in particular, and the second pertains to the recognition that the possibility of emotional trauma is built into the basic constitution of human existence. This volume traces how both themes interconnect, largely as they crystallize in the author’s personal experience of traumatic loss. As discus…Read more
  •  60
    In this review essay, the author commends Matthew Ratcliffe for his masterful and highly valuable account of the emotional phenomenology of existential change—of shifts in our experience of belonging to a shared world of possibilities—but criticizes him for his commitments to two frameworks that are actually extraneous and inimical to his project and that perpetuate remnants of Cartesian isolated-mind thinking—Husserlian ‘‘pure phenomenology’’ and traditional diagnostic psychiatry. The author co…Read more
  •  54
    Friendship, Fidelity, and Finitude: Reflections on Jacques Derrida's The Work of Mourning
    Comparative and Continental Philosophy 2 (1): 143-146. 2010.
    Presents the author's reflections on Derrida's philosophical insights concerning the interrelationships among friendship, fidelity, human finitude, and mourning, and the implications of these insights for "relationalizing" Heidegger's conception of finitude
  •  50
    Autobiographical and theoretical reflections on the "ontological unconscious"
    Contemporary Psychoanalysis 42 (2): 233-241. 2006.
    In this article I draw on some personal experiences of my own as a springboard for a theoretical discussion of the contextuality of the several varieties of unconsciousness and, in particular, of a form of unconsciousness that I propose to call the ontological unconscious.
  •  48
    This essay develops the thesis that the essence of psychoanalysis lies in emotional phenomenology.
  •  44
    McMullin argues persuasively that individualized interpersonal encounters entail the mutual recognition of the particularity of each participant’s temporalizing way of Being-in-the-world.
  •  40
    Structures of Subjectivity: Explorations in Psychoanalytic Phenomenology and Contextualism, is a revised and expanded second edition of a work first published in 1984, which was the first systematic presentation of the intersubjective viewpoint – what George Atwood and Robert Stolorow called psychoanalytic phenomenology – in psychoanalysis. This edition contains new chapters tracing the further development of their thinking over the ensuing decades and explores the personal origins of their most…Read more
  •  38
    Psyches Therapeia: Therapeutic Dimensions in Heidegger and Wittgenstein
    with Robert Sanchez Jr
    Comparative and Continental Philosophy 5 (1): 67-80. 2013.
    This article explores the philosophies of Heidegger and Wittgenstein to illustrate the thesis that philosophy is a human activity exhibiting a unity of investigative and therapeutic aims. For both philosophers, the purpose of philosophical concepts is to point toward a path of transformation rather than to explain. For both, a first step on this path is the recognition of constraining illusions, whether conventional or metaphysical. For both, such illusions are sedimented in linguistic practices…Read more
  •  37
    Love, Loss, and Finitude
    Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts 13 (2): 35-44. 2014.
    In this paper I offer some existential-phenomenological reflections on the interrelationships among the forms of love, loss, and human finitude. I claim that authentic Being-toward-death entails owning up not only to one’s own finitude, but also to the finitude of all those we love. Hence, authentic Being-toward-death always includes Being-toward-loss as a central constituent. Just as, existentially, we are “always dying already,” so too are we always already grieving. Death and loss are existen…Read more
  •  36
    The Madness and Genius of Post-Cartesian Philosophy: A Distant Mirror
    with George E. Atwood and Donna M. Orange
    Psychoanalytic Review 98 (3): 363-285. 2011.
    If the task of a post-Cartesian psychoanalysis is understood as one of exploring the patterns of emotional experience that organize subjective life, one can recognize that this task is pursued within a framework of delimiting assumptions concerning the ontology of the person. In this paper, we discuss these assumptions as they have emerged in the thinking of four major philosophers on whom we have drawn: Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Martin Heidegger. Our purpo…Read more
  •  32
    Blues and Emotional Trauma
    with Benjamin A. Stolorow
    In Jesse R. Steinberg & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Blues -- Philosophy for Everyone: Thinking Deep About Feeling Low, Wiley-blackwell. 2012.
    The process of bringing the visceral, bodily aspect of emotional experience into language plays a vital role in the working through of painful emotional states. Such visceral-linguistic unities are achieved in a dialogue of emotional understanding, and it is in such dialogue that experiences of emotional trauma can be held and transformed into endurable and namable painful feelings. The blues is a wonderful example of such dialogue. In the unifying experience of the blues, songwriter, performers…Read more
  •  28
    After a brief overview of the author's phenomenological-contextualist psychoanalytic perspective, the paper traces the evolution of the author’s conception of emotional trauma over the course of three decades, as it developed in concert with his efforts to grasp his own traumatized states and his studies of existential philosophy. The author illuminates two of trauma’s essential features: (1) its context-embeddedness—painful or frightening affect becomes traumatic when it cannot find a context o…Read more
  •  27
    Stolorow and his collaborators' post-Cartesian psychoanalytic perspective – intersubjective-systems theory – is a phenomenological contextualism that illuminates worlds of emotional experience as they take form within relational contexts. After outlining the evolution and basic ideas of this framework, Stolorow shows both how post-Cartesian psychoanalysis finds enrichment and philosophical support in Heidegger's analysis of human existence, and how Heidegger's existential philosophy, in turn, ca…Read more
  •  27
    The Phenomenological Circle and the Unity of Life and Thought
    with George E. Atwood
    Psychoanalytic Review 103 (3): 291-316. 2016.
    This paper describes the important role of our deep immersions in philosophy in the development of our phenomenological-contextualist approach to psychoanalysis. Influenced most particularly by the phenomenological movement, our collaborative dialogue over more than four decades has led us to a shared commitment to reflection upon the philosophical underpinnings and constitutive contexts of origin of all our theoretical ideas. The growth of our thinking follows an endlessly recurring phenomenolo…Read more