Experiences of Depression: A Study in Phenomenology

ISBN : 9780199608973

Matthew Ratcliffe
336 Pages
156 x 233 mm
Pub date
Dec 2014
International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry
Send mail

Experiences of Depression is a philosophical exploration of what it is like to be depressed. In this important new book, Matthew Ratcliffe develops a detailed account of depression experiences by drawing on work in phenomenology, philosophy of mind, and several other disciplines. In so doing, he makes clear how phenomenological research can contribute to psychiatry, by helping us to better understand patients' experiences, as well as informing classification, diagnosis, and treatment. Throughout the book, Ratcliffe also emphasizes the relevance of depression to philosophical enquiry. He proposes that, by reflecting on how experiences of depression differ from 'healthy' forms of experience, we can refine our understanding of both. Hence phenomenological research of this kind has much wider applicability. He further shows how the study of depression experiences can inform philosophical approaches to a range of topics, including interpersonal understanding and empathy, free will, the experience of time, the nature of emotion and feeling, what it is to believe something, and what it is to hope. This book will be of interest to anyone seeking to understand and relate to experiences of depression, including philosophers, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, therapists, and those who have been directly or indirectly affected by depression.


1. The World of Depression
2. Experiencing the Possible
3. Depression and the Body
4. Loss of Hope
5. Depth, Guilt and Narrative
6. Agency and Free Will
7. Time
8. Other People
9. Depression and Empathy
10. The Nature of Depression
Appendix: Depression Questionnaire Respondents

About the author: 

Matthew Ratcliffe is a Professor of Philosophy at Durham University. Most of his research addresses issues in phenomenology, philosophy of psychology, and philosophy of psychiatry. He is the author of Rethinking Commonsense Psychology: A Critique of Folk Psychology, Theory of Mind and Simulation (Palgrave, 2007) and Feelings of Being: Phenomenology, Psychiatry and the Sense of Reality (Oxford University Press, 2008).

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.