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What is a “sense of foreshortened future?” A phenomenological study of trauma, trust, and time

Ratcliffe, Matthew; Ruddell, Mark; Smith, Benedict

What is a “sense of foreshortened future?” A phenomenological study of trauma, trust, and time Thumbnail


Matthew Ratcliffe

Mark Ruddell


One of the symptoms of trauma is said to be a “sense of foreshortened future.” Without further qualification, it is not clear how to interpret this. In this paper, we offer a phenomenological account of what the experience consists of. To do so, we focus on the effects of torture. We describe how traumatic events, especially those that are deliberately inflicted by other people, can lead to a loss of “trust” or “confidence” in the world. This undermines the intelligibility of one’s projects, cares, and commitments, in a way that amounts to a change in the structure of temporal experience. The paper concludes by briefly addressing the implications of this for how we respond to trauma, as well as offering some remarks on the relationship between trauma and psychosis.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 28, 2014
Publication Date Sep 17, 2014
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2019
Publicly Available Date Sep 17, 2015
Journal Frontiers in Psychology
Print ISSN 1664-1078
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Article Number 1026
Keywords Anticipation, Husserl, Interpersonal relations, Temporal experience, Torture, Trauma, Trust.
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Published Journal Article (279 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2014 Ratcliffe, Ruddell and Smith. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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