The Three Moral Dimensions of Grief
journal contributionposted on 13.12.2017, 02:09 by Bryanna Moore
ABSTRACT: The moral status of the emotion of grief has garnered little recognition in philosophical literature. Existing inquiry has consisted for the most part of deontological and virtue ethical approaches to evaluating grief. In my paper I build upon established understandings of the morality grief and move beyond them, towards an understanding of what I call “eros-transformative grief” as a gateway or intermediary emotion that enables a powerful reassessment and revaluation of the self’s relation to the world. This fundamental moral revaluation is a result of the phenomenological absence of the relational self. The nature of grief reveals something vital about the way in which we relate to those around us—it is a fundamental reaffirmation of the inescapable separateness of the self, which can never truly be accepted without experiencing deep loss, but it is also a fundamental reaffirmation of the relationship that existed, and ultimately, of love. In eros-transformative grief, part of the grieving process involves accepting the permanency of our loss and moving past it through assimilating an intangible part of the lost loved one into the self. Thus, in addition to strengthening deontological and virtue ethical normative understandings of grief, I provide an account of eros-transformative grief that links it to the concept of love, allowing for a positive reading of an oft-neglected emotion.