Project description

The aim of this project is to provide the first ever detailed, systematic philosophical study of the nature and role of altered mood, emotion and feeling in depression. Despite the vast amount of research that is conducted into the causes and treatment of depression, the experience of depression remains poorly understood. Most autobiographical accounts either resort to metaphor or acknowledge that aspects of the experience are incommunicable. Changes in emotion, mood and bodily feeling are central to all forms of the condition. In recent years, there has been much valuable philosophical and interdisciplinary research on the emotions, which is complemented by new developments in philosophy of psychiatry and in scientifically-informed phenomenology. We will draw on all these areas. Our project will bring together a group of philosophers, psychiatrists, cultural anthropologists, psychologists, and neuroscientists all of whom have made important contributions to current research on emotion and/or psychiatric illness. The result will be a cohesive account of emotional experience in depression that will serve as the basis for further philosophical work, assist ongoing scientific research by providing clearer accounts of the emotional changes that require explanation, and contribute to clinical work by formulating a conceptual framework that patients and clinicians alike can use to communicate the experience of depression.