The experience of illness is a universal and substantial part of human existence. Like death, illness raises important philosophical issues. But unlike death, illness, and in particular the experience of being ill, has received little philosophical attention. This may be because illness is often understood as a physiological process that falls within the domain of medical science, and is thus outside the purview of philosophy. In Phenomenology of Illness
Havi Carel argues that the experience of illness has been wrongly neglected by philosophers and proposes to fill the lacuna. Phenomenology of Illness provides a distinctively philosophical account of illness. Using phenomenology, the philosophical method for first-person investigation, Carel explores how illness
modifies the ill person's body, values, and world. The aim of Phenomenology of Illness is twofold: to contribute to the understanding of illness through the use of philosophy and to demonstrate the importance of illness for philosophy. Contra the philosophical tendency to resist thinking about illness, Carel proposes that illness is a philosophical tool. Through its pathologising effect, illness distances the ill person from taken for granted routines and habits and reveals aspects of
human existence that normally go unnoticed. Phenomenology of Illness develops a phenomenological framework for illness and a systematic understanding of illness as a philosophical tool.
Havi Carel is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bristol, where she also teaches medical students. Her research examines the experience of illness and of receiving healthcare. She was recently awarded a Senior Investigator Award by the Wellcome Trust, for a five year project entitled 'Life of Breath' (with Prof Jane Macnaughton, Durham University). She has previously published on the embodied experience of illness, wellbeing within illness and patient-clinician communication in the Lancet, BMJ, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy, and in edited collections. Havi is the author of Illness (2008, 2013), shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, and of Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger (2006). She is the co-editor of Health, Illness and Disease (2012) and of What Philosophy Is (2004).