Publication 7149

Depraz N. (2021) The Lived Experience of Being Fragile: On Becoming more “Living” During the Pandemic. Constructivist Foundations 16(3): 245–253. Fulltext at
Context: The topic of my article, fragility, is a theme that has been little broached in philosophy and phenomenology, except by Ricœur, in the fifties, and recently Chrétien. I aim to bring it into light, anew, with a micro-phenomenological approach. Problem: How does fragility, far from referring to a weak living being, makes us feel more alive, and how does the pandemic time we are going through intensify our feeling of being “living? Method: I chose to use a first-person method related to micro-phenomenology, self-explicitation. As a writing method, it fits the time of loneliness in which we were immersed in lockdown better. I produced two small self-explicitations referring to two salient moments of awareness of my fragility. They reveal a contrasted feeling of fragility, negative/positive, an existential loneliness leading to a time regained, a huge difficulty to breathe awakening an imminent death feeling and then an amplified breathing. Results: Not only is fragility not a weakening of my being, but it results in my being more alive. Moreover, the article shows that fragility is not a mere state: it entails a peculiar micro-dynamics made of two phases, negative/positive. Implications: This contribution offers a first insight into the dynamics of lived fragilization from a micro-phenomenological viewpoint. It needs to be developed further with other self-explicitations and interviews. Another challenge is to compare the philosophical results with the micro-phenomenological ones. Constructivist content: This article links to the constructivist perspective founded by Vermersch. It puts to the fore the first-person self-explicitation method as a precious tool to uncover limit experiences of loneliness and imminent dying, sometimes hard to broach during an interview.


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