Anxiety, Deferral, Dying in Heidegger

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Mills, Sara
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University of Guelph

According to Martin Heidegger, to be anxious is to feel the weight of one’s existence and at the same time one’s essential relation to non-existence, nothingness, as vulnerability to death. Human existence, “Dasein”, is defined by the intimacy of this relation. Consequently, Heidegger describes anxiety as the fundamental mood of the human experience. This project seeks to motivate these claims by way of investigating the existential structures of Dasein as well as the ontology of mood and world given in several of Heidegger’s major works. The final section of the thesis employs the heirloom object, viewed through the lens of Freudian fetish theory, as a means of discussing ways in which Dasein’s everyday engagements with objects express the anxiety latent in its experience of world. Additionally, this analysis of the heirloom object points to limitations with Heidegger’s thinking of the object in Being and Time.

Existentialism, Phenomenology, Martin Heidegger, Phenomenology of Mood, Anxiety, Fetishism, Heirloom, Death, Authenticity, Dying, Deferral