Mood’s Disclosure of Interrelatedness: A Phenomenological Analysis

Corey Steiner, Fordham University


In both everyday speech and academic literature, mood is often cast either as a fleeting phenomenon which does not reflect real qualities of the outside world, or as a problem to be managed. Mood’s Disclosure of Interrelatedness challenges these predominant preconceptions about mood by taking up a phenomenological analysis of what it is like to experience mood from a first-person perspective. My argument pays particular attention to the disclosure of the interrelatedness between oneself and others which takes place in mooded experience. I argue that each mood discloses the interdependence between oneself and other persons, as well as the proximity or distance which characterizes one’s perceived status in relation to them, from a distinct angle. To illustrate this, I analyze the experience of the moods of melancholy, compassion, anxiety, and bliss. My proposed account of mood can be contrasted with prominent accounts of the related phenomena of affect, a pre-personal force which manifests itself within and simultaneously escapes capture within experience, and emotion, a state which takes a particular entity or event in the world as its object. I argue that though the relationship between mood and affect cannot be determined through phenomenological analysis, the relationship between mood and emotion can be characterized as a feedback loop which features resonance and dissonance between the two different types of states. Considering mood’s disclosure of interrelatedness provides insight into the experience of depression, which is commonly labeled as a mood disorder in literature on psychopathology. The moods which feature most prominently in depression commonly emphasize a sense of alienation from the social world in a way that poses an existential threat to the experiencer. By employing a phenomenology of mood towards an analysis of depression, I highlight the advantages of this strategy for identifying understudied aspects of psychopathological phenomena and of healthy experiences of mood.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Steiner, Corey, "Mood’s Disclosure of Interrelatedness: A Phenomenological Analysis" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29168666.