Furcht und Angst

In Dietmar Goltschnigg (ed.), Angst. Lähmender Stillstand und Motor des Fortschritts. Stauffenburg. pp. 49-54 (2012)
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Is fear a ‘deficient mode’ of anxiety? This claim made by Martin Heidegger in ‘Being and Time’ (1927) depends on an analysis of intentionality. Emotions take objects: to love, to hate, to fear is to love, to hate, to fear someone or something. Yet anxiety, Heidegger maintains (‘Being and Time’ § 40), is about “nothing” (“nichts”) rather than “something” (“etwas”). Heidegger then turns lack of knowledge or understanding of what one’s anxiety is about into a revelation of “Nothing” (“Die Angst offenbart das Nichts”; ‘Being and Time’ § 40) – a state meant to manifest freedom. Yet freedom is not increased but diminished if and when someone cannot judge the direction, extent and power of a threat. Concrete, determinate thought liberates; someone is less free in anxiety than in fear.

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Andreas Dorschel
Goethe University Frankfurt


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