Chapter published in:Surprise at the Intersection of Phenomenology and Linguistics
Edited by Natalie Depraz and Agnès Celle
[Consciousness & Emotion Book Series 11] 2019
► pp. 172–180
Is surprise necessarily disappointing?
The article examines the function and status of surprise from Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological point of view on experience. Firstly, it is shown that, when experience is defined through concordance and continuity, it becomes difficult to describe surprise otherwise than as deception or disappointment. Secondly, the paper attempts to overcome this negative characterization of surprise without completely abandoning Husserl’s method and description. It is indeed shown that conflict is as important and irreducible as concordance and that experience should rather be defined, in a more dynamic manner, as the intertwining of both. The motivational link between the past and the future is then re-evaluated, in order to maintain a balance between the motivation of the past (expectation) and the open possibilities of the future (free anticipation). Thus, surprise can receive a legitimate and consistent place within experience, and a paradoxical expectation of surprise becomes conceivable.
Keywords: surprise, disappointment, Husserl, phenomenology, experience
Published online: 06 November 2019
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