Taking Heart and Making Sense: a New View of Nature, Feeling and the Body


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Taking Heart and Making Sense argues that theoretical developments in the neuroscience, psychology and philosophy of feeling and emotion indicate a need to amend our most basic understanding of the world.

Lindgaard proposes a worldview based on the fundamental reality of change, best understood through the concepts of process and relation. This new metaphysics clarifies theories of feeling and the physical body, and validates concepts such as attunement, interaction and histories of functioning.

Her theory conceptualises feeling as the perspective from the inside of a certain kind of living system, which exists as a whole process over time. In relation to much longer trajectories of evolution, human feeling is prefigured in animal consciousness and meaning is immanent in nature.

This perspective stands as an alternative to prevalent views in contemporary neuroscience, which characterise consciousness as an isolated hallucination or a direct effect of neural processes alone, and feeling as a meaningless by-product of homeostasis. Taking Heart and Making Sense contends instead that consciousness emerges first as feeling at the level of the whole body.

Feeling is a mode of understanding in and with the whole body in the world.

“This book fills a huge gap in our understanding of ourselves and our relations to others, including the rest of nature, by showing the place and central role of feeling.

Reviving, but going beyond work of phenomenologists and the work of Susanne Langer that had been sidelined by analytic philosophy and the rise of structuralism and poststructuralism, the book examines embodiment, pre-conscious experience, emotions, consciousness, the nature and role of metaphors in cognition and the relationship between biology and culture, showing the central place of feeling in all these. In doing so it examines and gives a place to pre-conscious experience and implicit memory, the development of feeling in children, and the role of the ‘sense of fit’, not only in humans, but in the orientation and cognition of animals.

The book engages with developments biology and biosemiotics, building on the work of hierarchy theorists to challenge mainstream reductionist science. This is a major contribution to the development of a process-relational metaphysics and world-view accessible to the general reader while making significant contributions to a number of academic disciplines.” — Dr Arran Gare



  • From emotion concepts to embodied cognition
  • The co-creation of experience and understanding
  • Dynamic and structure


  • Beyond the dynamics of dualism
  • Speculative philosophy and a new naturalism
  • Developing processes and ordering relations
  • Genes, cells and signs


  • Behaviour as best fit
  • Nonconscious behaviour and implicit memory
  • The sense of fit


  • The biology and culture of interactions
  • Infant development and differentiated feeling
  • Unique, individual metaphors
  • The creativity of consciousness

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