Anxiety in Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time’: Honours thesis

This post links to my Philosophy Honours thesis, Anxiety in Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time’. I completed it in 2012, under my supervisor Carleton Bruin Christensen in the School of Philosophy at the Australian National University College of Arts and Social Sciences. While I received a First Class for it, a number of points still need amending based on the markers' comments — I’ll post the amended version as soon as I get to it.

Abstract: Anxiety in Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time’

I argue that anxiety, in the sense Heidegger intends, is an ontological determination of Dasein: an essential possibility, an existential possibility inherent in being-a-self (Selbstsein). I explain and criticise Blattner’s characterisation of anxiety as depression, highlighting how Heidegger’s concept needs to be distanced from the pathologised, ontic version with which it is so easily associated. Anxiety is instead ontological, as necessitated by Heidegger’s clear intent for it to play a role in his account of the unity of the self. I address more specific claims in relation to §40 put forth by Blattner, and by Dreyfus and Rubin, on whose interpretation Blattner’s is modelled. This brings to light clear issues in their interpretation, which cannot allow for such a unity. On this basis, I give an alternative reading by interpreting anxiety through an account of the life and works of Martin Luther, as a possible way of resolving these issues in a manner which has greater coherence with elements in both divisions.

Get the PDF: Anxiety-in-Being-and-Time-Jahla-Gato-Honours-Thesis-May-2012.pdf

Credit (and many thanks) goes to Simon Pascal Klein for brilliant typesetting at the 11th hour before the submission deadline. Literally. It was 11pm the night before it was due before I handed it to him, with 11 hours left until printing.


This is somewhat belated. I had intended to include an acknowledgements section in my thesis, but things just got a bit beyond me in that last day or so and I ran out of time. However, here we are a year later and there are a few people I would like to mention—

Thanks and much gratitude for help and support go to: Bruin for well everything (often on short notice!) from draft proofreading and ideas to conversations and the odd drink; Jason Andrews for proofreading, food, cleaning and listening to me rant; Odette for last minute proofreading help, Leila for among other things last minute final printing and binding, and food deliveries at the Medlabs (the campus 24hr computer labs where I spent way too much time); Dylan and Lucy for Medlabs moral support; and of course Pascal for all his support, help, and general awesomeness throughout the whole crazy process.