“[A] radical and unitary attempt, newly thought through, at a methodical clarification of this crucial experience. The author’s expositions achieve a high scientific standard and display an admirable familiarity with the enormous literature on the topic, yet without ever losing sight of the phenomenon itself, and he makes himself intelligible to readers who are not specialists in phenomenology. This is certainly not a minor merit of the book…. Any future treatment of pain in a phenomenological or philosophical perspective will accordingly have to pay very serious attention to this book."
Agustín Serrano de Haro, Husserl Studies
“By making phenomenology dialogical, Geniusas opens up his study to findings from disciplines other than phenomenology. Philosophers, scientists, psychologists, sociologists, and really anyone interested in pain experience can both understand and critically engage with the book. Furthermore, … [Geniusas’s] explorations of the relation between listening and treatment of pain conditions, between the life-world and pain experiences, and between the lived body and the mind shed a new light on different aspects of medical treatments.”
Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
“Geniusas convincingly substantiates his claim that phenomenology is essential to reconciling various elements of the slippery concept of pain, while also elegantly teaching the basic principles of phenomenology. By focusing on Husserl rather than Heidegger or Merleau-Ponty, who are more commonly invoked in the contemporary phenomenology of health, illness, and medicine, Geniusas allows for a more analytical approach to his subject.”
Jenny Slatman, author of Our Strange Body: Philosophical Reflections on Identity and Medical Interventions
“Geniusas is the first to have developed a systematic phenomenology of pain, which has never existed before the publication of this book as far as its conceptual scale and empirical base are concerned….It is also its great merit that it outlines new prospects for a dialogue between phenomenology and the positivistic sciences of pain."
Vitaliy Lekhtsier, Horizon: Studies in Phenomenology
The Phenomenology of Pain is the first book-length investigation of its topic to appear in English. Groundbreaking, systematic, and illuminating, it opens a dialogue between phenomenology and such disciplines as cognitive science and cultural anthropology to argue that science alone cannot clarify the nature of pain experience without incorporating a phenomenological approach. Building on this premise, Saulius Geniusas develops a novel conception of pain grounded in phenomenological principles: pain is an aversive bodily feeling with a distinct experiential quality, which can only be given in original first-hand experience, either as a feeling-sensation or as an emotion.
Geniusas crystallizes the fundamental methodological principles that underlie phenomenological research. On the basis of those principles, he offers a phenomenological clarification of the fundamental structures of pain experience and contests the common conflation of phenomenology with introspectionism. Geniusas analyzes numerous pain dissociation syndromes, brings into focus the de-personalizing and re-personalizing nature of chronic pain experience, and demonstrates what role somatization and psychologization play in pain experience. In the process, he advances Husserlian phenomenology in a direction that is not explicitly worked out in Husserl’s own writings.
Saulius Geniusas is associate professor of philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research primarily focuses on phenomenology and hermeneutics. He is the author of The Origins of the Horizon in Husserl’s Phenomenology, editor of numerous volumes, and author of close to fifty articles for various philosophy journals and anthologies. More info →
Review in the Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2021)Download
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