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07-02-2017 | Uitgave 4/2017

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy 4/2017

The Interface Between Sartre’s Theory of Emotions and Depersonalization/Derealization

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy > Uitgave 4/2017
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Human beings are emotional beings and emotions are one’s way of relating to the world. Sartre’s Emotions, An Outline of a Theory lies on the borderline between psychology and philosophy. In this paper I will attempt to present the interface of Sartre’s philosophical theory of emotions with the signs and symptoms of depersonalization/derealization syndrome as presented in the psychiatric/psychological literature. I will begin by concisely situating Sartre’s concept of emotions within the Sartrean doctrine of existentialism, and follow with a brief summary of Bernard Frechtman’s translation of Sartre’s “The Emotions, An Outline of a Theory”. I will focus on the Introduction and Chapter Three, where Sartre presents the findings of his phenomenological study that purport to reveal the “essence” of emotions. Next, I will introduce the diagnostic components of the depersonalization/derealization syndrome which is a subcategory of dissociative disorders as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (2013) as well as criteria of International Classification of Diseases—10th edition (1992) and highlight the similarities with Sartre’s characterization of emotional behavior. Finally, I will attempt a brief comparison between Sartre’s theory of emotions and depersonalization/derealization syndrome using literary and philosophical critiques of Sartre’s “Emotions” and theoretical as well as research papers from the psychiatric literature. The focus will be on the similarities and incongruities between Sartre’s characterization of emotions and psychiatric diagnoses of depersonalization/derealization syndrome.

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