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Positive feelings on the border between phenomenology, psychology and virtue ethics

Vol. 8 (2)

Edited by

Roberta Guccinelli, Gemmo Iocco

Deadline: Friday 31st July 2020

One of the liveliest topics of research in contemporary philosophy is the study of negative emotions— the  so-called  ombres  de  l’âme  (Tappolet,  Teroni,  Konzelmann  Ziv,  Bilgrami,  Nussbaum,  Salice,  Montes Sánchez)—and  of  pathological  or  abnormal  affective  experiences  (Ratcliffe,  Colombetti,  Bayne  and Fernàndez).  Effectively,  negative  and  pathological-experiences,  such  as  affective  value  illusions  and emotional blindness, display certain fundamental marks that enable us to gain a deep understanding of emotional life in general, not only of pathological or negative cases.

Accordingly,  in  recent  years  there  has  been  a  growing  interest  in  the  topics  of  negative  and pathological affective experiences in contemporary phenomenology and psychopathology.  It  is rather remarkable, however, that the contemporary phenomenological debate has not given a similar kind of attention  to  positive  daily  emotional  experiences  such  as,  well-being,  resilience,  coping,  and  joy.  In  the early 2000s, Martin Seligman decried a similar lack of attention in psychology, noting that we need a science  that seeks to understand positive emotion, build strength and virtue, and provide guideposts for finding what Aristotle called the good life. In this scenario happiness deserves a separate discussion since it plays a role  of  utmost  important  not  only  within  virtue-ethical  theories  but  also  in  moral-psychological research understood as the study of human thought and behavior in ethical context.

In  the  wake  of  current  psychological  and  philosophical  interest  on  positive  emotions  (Seligman, Fredrickson, Bortolotti, Rodogno), especially in analytic philosophy, the current issue of Metodo aims to focus  on  the  description  of  positive  affective  phenomena,  not  only  in  classical  and  contemporary phenomenology  but  also  within  the  wider  horizon  of  the  intersection  between  phenomenology, (moral-)psychology  and  virtue  ethics.  Thanks  to  their  holistic  approach  to  the  person,  both phenomenologists (and phenomenological psychiatrists, such as for example psychiatrists belonging to the  Italian  tradition  of  phenomenological  psychiatry)  and  positive  psychologists  may offer  important contributions  to  the  topic  of  positive  feelings.  For  instance,  attention  to  the  positive  components  of health—today  emphasized  by  theorists  of  subjective  well-being  and  happiness—makes  it  possible to develop  a  notion  of  well-being  within  illness and  to  promote  the  development  and  enhancement  of positive  strengths,  positive  emotions,  and  the  positive  ability  to  cope  with  life  stressors  and vulnerability. In the context of phenomenology, for example, Havi Carel’s philosophical research aims at  a  similar  goal.  In  philosophy,  classical  phenomenological  research  on positive  feelings  remains fundamental.  From  these  considerations,  and  in  the  name  of  a  “philosophy”  (and  psychology)  “of respect” and trust, and not “of suspicion” (Ricoeur, Galli, De Monticelli), we invite reflection on positive feelings and on modalities they allow to determine the general traits of a good life.

Suggested  topics  for  this  issue  include,  but  are  not  limited  to,  phenomenological  and  psychological inquiries into:

• Accounts of positive emotions outlined in the  psychological-phenomenological  debate of the 20th century

• The relationship between positive emotions and ethical life

• The relationship between positive emotions, resilience and coping

• The relationship between art and well-being

• The relationship between happiness and the meaning of life

• Phenomenology of alterity and positive affective experiences

• Positive feelings and virtue-ethics at  the crossroad  between phenomenology and  moral-psychology

Abstracts and papers must be submitted to the following e-mail addresses: metodo@sdvigpress.org

Confirmed invited contributors:

Lisa Bortolotti

Gilberto Di Petta

John Drummond

Alessandra Fussi

Claude Romano

William Paul Simmons

Submitted papers  (in English, German, French, Spanish or Italian) must follow the basic principles of Metodo and follow all Author Guidelines. The editorial board highly suggests all authors writing in a non-native  language  to  have  their  texts  proofread  before  submission.  All  contributions  will  undergo anonymous peer-review by two referees.

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