On the role of mood in phenomenological method
Heidegger’s early project aims to articulate the form of our being as Dasein, and he says that for this usually hidden form to become accessible, a certain kind of “mood” is required of the philosopher. This “ground-mood” he identifies in Sein und Zeit as anxiety. He also, however, presents anxiety as a mood anyone, philosopher or not, experiences when there is some significant breakdown in the living of her life. I argue here that there are largely unrecognized problems with this conflation of methodological and “existential” moods, but that there is nevertheless a compelling methodological account of anxiety that can be teased apart from the existentialist one: methodologically understood, anxiety is a self-affected state of the ontologist, one that results from her asking ontological questions of herself, and, by imagining crisis or breakdown, withdrawing from her determinate situation to a position where she can see the form of her own activity as questioner and imaginer. I draw out some consequences this has for how we should understand the place of ontological understanding in living one’s life, and I conclude by briefly showing how my reading helps us see Heidegger as developing key elements in the work of Descartes and Kant.
Shockey, R.M. (2016). Heidegger's anxiety: On the role of mood in phenomenological method. Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique 12 (1), pp. 1-27.
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