What does it mean to be sad? What difference does it make whether, how, and why we experience our own, and other people’s, sadness? Is sadness always appropriate and can it be a way of seeing more clearly into ourselves and others?
In this volume, a multi-disciplinary team of scholars - from fields including philosophy, women’s and gender studies, bioethics and public health, and neuroscience - addresses these and other questions related to this nearly-universal emotion that all of us experience, and that some of us dread. Somewhat surprisingly, sadness has been largely ignored by philosophers and others within the humanities, or else under-theorized as a subject worthy of serious and careful attention. This volume reverses this trend, presenting sadness as not merely a feeling or affect, but an emotion of great moral significance that in important ways underwrites how we understand ourselves and each other.
1. Dedication / 2. Acknowledgments / 3. Introduction: The Topographies of Sadness: An Introduction to The Moral Psychology of Sadness Anna Gotlib / Part I: The Phenomenologies of Sadness / 4. Untold Sorrow, Andrea Westlund / 5. “Should We Feel Sad About Scheffler’s Doomsday Scenario?”, Christine Vitrano / 6. “Sadness, Sense, and Sensibility,” Jamie Lindemann Nelson / 7. “I know that I'll be leaving soon: Sadness, Intersubjectivity, and the Lesson of Inside Out,” Claire Katz / Part II: Sadness and Other Emotions / 8. “Grief and Recovery,” Erica Preston-Roedder and Ryan Preston-Roedder / 9. “Forgiveness and The Moral Psychology of Sadness,” Jeffrey Blustein / Part III: Sadness and Nostalgia / 10. “Nostalgia and Mental Simulation,” Felipe De Brigard / 11. “Memory, Sadness and Longing: Exile Nostalgias as Attunement to Loss,” Anna Gotlib / 12. Index
In the moral psychology literature, much has been written about happiness and almost nothing about sadness. Anna Gotlib’s edited volume on the moral psychology of sadness fills a significant gap in the literature by conveying a variety of ways that sadness as an emotion plays a crucial role in our moral lives.
This lively and bold collection explores oft-neglected issues in philosophy that relate to negative and positive facets of sadness, including what grieving is, whether short-term sadness after a loved one’s death is problematic, what matters to us when death is imminent, whether sadness can be good for us, and the meaning of nostalgia. Thought-provoking and tugs at the heart strings.
Anna Gotlib is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College CUNY.