Surprise: An Emotion?

  • Natalie Depraz
  • Anthony J. Steinbock

Part of the Contributions To Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 97)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Surprise and the Heart

  3. Surprise and Depression

  4. Surprise and the Body

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 81-81
    2. Edward S. Casey
      Pages 97-103
  5. Surprise in Hermeneutics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 115-115
    2. Claudia Serban
      Pages 129-139
  6. Surprise in Linguistics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 141-141
    2. Agnès Celle, Anne Jugnet, Laure Lansari, Emilie L’Hôte
      Pages 163-189

About this book


This volume offers perspectives on the theme of surprise crossing philosophical, phenomenological, scientific, psycho-physiology, psychiatric, and linguistic boundaries. The main question it examines is whether surprise is an emotion. It uses two main theoretical frameworks to do so: psychology, in which surprise is commonly considered a primary emotion, and philosophy, in which surprise is related to passions as opposed to reason. The book explores whether these views on surprise are satisfying or sufficient. It looks at the extent to which surprise is also a cognitive phenomenon and primitively embedded in language, and the way in which surprise is connected to personhood, the interpersonal, and moral emotions.

Many philosophers of different traditions, a number of experimental studies conducted over the last decades, recent works in linguistics, and ancestral wisdom testimonies refer to surprise as a crucial experience of both rupture and openness in bodily and inner life. However, surprise is a theme that has not been dealt with directly and systematically in philosophy, in the sciences, in linguistics, or in spiritual traditions. This volume accomplishes just that.


First Person Methods Heart and Emotion Hermeneutics and Emotion Human Emotions Linguistic Analysis Neurophysiology Phenomenology of Emotion Phenomenology of Surprise Surprise and Body Surprise and Depression

Editors and affiliations

  • Natalie Depraz
    • 1
  • Anthony J. Steinbock
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of RouenMont Saint AignanFrance
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophySouthern Illinois University CarbondaleCarbondaleUSA

Bibliographic information