Heidegger on Anxiety in the Face of Death—An Analysis and Extension

Southwest Philosophy Review 37 (2):131-147 (2021)
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Abstract

A significant portion of the secondary literature on Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time has focused on interpreting his formal conceptions of death and anxiety. Unlike these previous works, this essay will serve to fill a gap in the Heideggerian portrayal of death. Although he argues that Dasein is anxious about death at a fundamental level and that it proximally and for the most part covers up such anxiety, Heidegger does not provide ontic evidence in support of his claim, instead opting to uncharacteristically take it as something self-evident. I attempt to supplement Heidegger’s framework by introducing Stephen Cave’s immortality narratives and the emerging field of Terror Management Theory as the aforementioned ontic evidence that rounds out Heidegger’s notion of death, before ultimately transitioning from Heidegger’s work into the larger philosophical discourse on death and demonstrating the potential joy that can manifest when one gains a lucid understanding of the ownness of their death and the narratives to which it gives rise.

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Mehrzad Ali Moin
Marquette University

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