Magic, emotion and practical metabolism: Affective praxis in Sartre and Collingwood

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This article develops a new way of understanding the integration of emotions in practical life and the practical appraisal of emotions, drawing on insights from both J-P. Sartre and R. G. Collingwood. I develop a concept of ‘practical metabolism’ and show that emotions need to be understood not only as transformations from determinate to indeterminate practical intuitions, but also as transformations in the reverse direction. Firstly, I provide a new conception of the dynamic phenomenal structure of the emotions that can resolve significant tensions in the Sartre’s theory. Secondly, I develop that theory to shed light on the diverse socially mediated roles of emotions in practical life by drawing on Collingwood’s philosophy of magic. Thirdly, I deploy the notion of practical metabolism to address the appraisal of emotions, setting out a framework for understanding the various ways in which emotional expression is subject to structural breakdown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-297
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of the British Society for Phenomenology
Issue number3
Early online date30 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • J-P Sartre
  • R. G. Collingwood
  • emotion
  • magic
  • practical metabolism

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