An existentialist concept
Anxiety is a flagship concept of existentialist philosophy:
- vertigo of freedom in Kierkegaard
- refusal of responsibility in Sartre
- existential anxiety of man facing Being in Heidegger
Anxiety is defined in philosophy as an undetermined fear.
Fear and anxiety
Anxiety is distinguished from fear, which is always the fear of an “object”, anxiety does not relate to any particular object, hence its global and particularly disturbing nature.
The anxiety of death is itself extremely vague and is not accompanied by any precise representation, simply by a feeling of fall and dissolution of all our representations (Hegel).
The word “anguish” has taken on in existentialist philosophy the meaning of “metaphysical anxiety”, felt through the individual torments of man. It is indicative of the absurdity of existence.