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“How do you feel?”: oscillating perspectives in the clinic

Carel, H; Macnaughton, J

“How do you feel?”: oscillating perspectives in the clinic Thumbnail


H Carel


“The body is originally constituted in a double way: first, it is a physical thing, matter…Secondly, I sense ‘on’ it and ‘in’ it: warmth on the back of the hand, coldness in the feet.” These words were written by Edmund Husserl, the 20th-century philosopher and founder of phenomenology, the philosophical study of human experience. For Husserl, this duality of experience is a unique feature of human existence. Humans are both physical matter, like kettles, trees, and rocks; but they are also capable of having conscious experience. On the one hand, we are physical objects; on the other hand, we are consciousness. What is the relevance of this dual existence to medicine? We consider the philosophical basis for this view and its potential importance to clinical consultations.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 21, 2012
Deposit Date Jun 25, 2012
Publicly Available Date Jun 28, 2012
Journal The Lancet
Print ISSN 0140-6736
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 379
Issue 9834
Pages 2334-2335
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (308 Kb)

Copyright Statement
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in The Lancet. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in The Lancet, 379, 9834, 2012, 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61007-1

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