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We are rooted in the experience of our feelings. We feel ourselves as persons. Such affects are not communicated but exchanged with others. Affects are crucial to our existence but little understood with myriad theories. This book brings together the confusion of what is known from a wide range of studies and transforms them into a coherent whole.
Due to be published in March 2023.
R. D. Hinshelwood
Paperback, e-Book, Print & e-Book
Psychoanalysis is, above all, the science of the emotions but, as yet, there is no single accepted theory of affects. Instead, there are many, all of them too limited, based, as they are, on idiosyncratic introspection. R. D. Hinshelwood presents an extensive scoping of the prominent theories from the philosophy of mind and academic psychology alongside a review of psychoanalytic ideas based on instinct theory or object relations. This wide review of divergent theories from various disciplines helps to mitigate variation and identify commonalities. From this scoping exercise, Hinshelwood creates a form of qualitative meta-analysis which enables the most common dimensions to come to the fore – namely, 113 features of affects form a more general theory with four dimensions. This more systematic view offers an affective ‘space’ as a model for thinking about the nature of affects, their origins, and their consequences. At the same time, Hinshelwood retains the personal. He starts with the memory which initiated his quest to understand how much we are rooted in the experience of our feelings and includes a chapter documenting his own idiosyncrasies to bring his own bias to the fore. In this way, the book preserves the especially personal and intimate quality of its universal topic.
R. D. Hinshelwood is professor emeritus at the University of Essex, and previously clinical director at the Cassel Hospital, London. He is a fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society, and a fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He authored A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought in 1989, and Clinical Klein in 1994. A long-time advocate of alternative psychiatry, he was a founding member of The Association of Therapeutic Communities in 1974; and in 1980 he founded, with colleagues, The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities. He was involved in the Psychoanalysis and Public Sphere conferences in the 1980s and 1990s, and he has contributed each year to the Psychoanalysis and Political Mind Seminars. He has been a member of the Labour Party for fifty years.
About the author
Prologue: A happy little girl
Part I. Introduction – What, and who for?
1. Theories and confusions
2. What we already know
3. Affects and cognition
Part II. The hard work – A method
4. ‘Discoveries’ of four disciplines
5. Clusters and dimensions
6. A 3D space
7. Congruence and complementarity: The social role of affects
8. Exchange and being
Epilogue: What are our results?
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