Fear, anxiety, and boredom

In Thomas Szanto & Hilge Landweer (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Phenomenology of Emotion. New York: Routledge. pp. 392-402 (2020)
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Phenomenology's central insight is that affectivity is not an inconsequential or contingent characteristic of human existence. Emotions, moods, sentiments, and feelings are not accidents of human existence. They do not happen to happen to us. Rather, we exist the way we do because of and through our affective experiences. Phenomenology thus acknowledges the centrality and ubiquity of affectivity by noting the multitude of ways in which our existence is permeated by our various affective experiences. Yet, it also insists that such experiences are both revealing and constitutive of human nature. It is precisely this last point that marks an important distinction between a phenomenological study of affectivity and perhaps all others. For phenomenology, one cannot understand the nature of human existence without coming to terms with the character of affectivity and at the same time, one cannot come to terms with the character of affectivity without understanding the nature of human existence. Practical and social engagements, scientific endeavors, familial and political interactions are all predicted on the fact that we are beings who are capable of being affectively attuned to ourselves, to the world, and to others. In this entry, we discuss Martin Heidegger's and Jean-Paul Sartre's respective accounts of affectivity. In the first section, we present Heidegger's understanding of affective existence. In this context, we discuss the significance of moods and offer an analysis of the affective phenomena of fear, anxiety, and boredom. In the second section, we present an overview of Sartre's account of emotions and advance a Sartrean interpretation of fear and boredom. We conclude by raising some brief concerns with both accounts.
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