Temporality and existential mood in Heideggerian phenomenology
Evidence and practice    

Temporality and existential mood in Heideggerian phenomenology

Aoife Moran Clinical placement coordinator, nurse practice development unit, nursing administration department, St James’s Hospital, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Background The philosophical perspective of a research methodology should explicitly underpin the decisions the researcher makes throughout the research. It is therefore important to understand the philosophical background and origins of Heideggerian phenomenology when using it as a research methodology.

Aim To discuss in detail the main philosophical ideas underpinning Heideggerian phenomenology.

Discussion Anxiety and boredom are two significant existential moods in Heideggerian phenomenology. Time is the basis of these moods and is an ‘originary temporality’. Originary temporality consists of a unified structure that includes the past, present and future. The experience of being human (‘dasein’) and its care/worry structure are significant features of originary temporality and consequently existential mood. Existential anxiety discloses the threefold characteristics of temporality to the individual, while existential boredom disrupts its unified structure. Both moods highlight the limits of existence to the individual and may culminate in additional distressing moods.

Conclusion It is essential for nurse researchers using Heideggerian phenomenology to understand the philosophical ideas underlining it.

Implications for practice The depiction of originary temporality and existential mood illustrated in this article could help nurse researchers embarking on a Heideggerian phenomenological study. The article could also inform researchers new to Heideggerian phenomenological research of the methodology’s philosophical background.

Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2019.e1662

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Moran A (2019) Temporality and existential mood in Heideggerian phenomenology. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2019.e1662

Published online: 12 September 2019

Want to read more?

Already subscribed? Log in


Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first 3 months

Your subscription package includes:
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals and their archives
  • Customisable dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now