2020-02Thematic Section
Dis-chronic Experience of No-thing: Existential Analysis of Freud’s and Heidegger’s Concept of Anxiety


This essay compares Freud’s and Heidegger’s concept of Angst. Heidegger’s and Freud’s interpretations are guided by different aims: A) in “Inhibition, Symptom and Anxiety” Freud tries to define the concept of anxiety as a main element in neurosis; B) Heidegger’s notion plays a major role in gaining the existential meaning of Dasein. Despite the differences, this essay claims that it is possible to discover a common anthropo-existential interpretation. Anxiety marks the anthropological and existential passage from the non-distinction of the pre-subjective life to the distinction that emerges from the progressive differentiation of the subject from the world. From such a distinction originates the conflict between the tendency to regain non-distinction (as a pre-birth condition) and the necessity of multiplicity. In Freud, anxiety is the price for the renunciation of indistinction; in Heidegger, anxiety is encountered when this price is recognized as unavoidable. This is the core problem that this study takes into account in order to show the existential and anthropological role of anxiety. I will proceed with an analysis of Freud’s interpretation of anxiety, and then with the Heideggerian notion. The third part points out the affinity between them. Furthermore, the paper focuses on the dis-chronic temporality that characterizes the trauma of birth. In order to show the latter, we compare the temporalities of trauma and aesthetic experience. To perform this temporal analysis, the text adopts a phenomenological viewpoint (especially from Husserl).


Angst, Freud, Heidegger, trauma of birth, subjectivity, existence, temporality

How to cite:

Mauri, Martina. “Dis-chronic Experience of No-thing: Existential Analysis of Freud’s and Heidegger’s Concept of Anxiety.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4, no. 2 (2020):  52-69. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2020.0016.


Martina Mauri
FINO – Northwestern Italian Philosophy Consortium


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