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A materialist approach to Heideggerian anxiety

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Martin Heidegger's radical conception of the 'subject' as Dasein (the human being, whose essence is Existence) was meant to deconstruct traditional Cartesian conceptions of the subject based purely on consciousness in the name of retrieving a fundamental ontology. For Heidegger, Dasein is the only entity that can grasp primordial Being, which only becomes accessible in a breakdown of the world in anxiety (Angst). Although Heidegger contends that consciousness is irrelevant to Dasein's experience of anxiety, I argue that consciousness remains crucial to the concept. While this discovery results in what Theodor W. Adorno calls a pseudo-concrete (abstract and individualistic) ontology, I approach anxiety through a materialist lens via Georg Lukács's social ontology of the proletariat and Herbert Marcuse's Heideggerian Marxism to argue that consciousness of social being may emerge out of anxiety, which may lead to revolutionary social action. In doing so, I underscore the emancipatory potential of anxiety.
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Thesis advisor: Gandesha, Samir
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