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date: 18 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Philosophical issues with respect to anxiety and its pathological variants arise at the border between everyday and clinical understanding of anxiety, between clinical and scientific approaches and between scientific concepts and the philosophical frameworks they refer to. These four ways of understanding can be seen as epistemic levels that point at different aspects and qualities of anxiety. After a brief historical introduction the three interfaces will be discussed. Philosophical questions at the interface between the first two levels (everyday understanding and clinical knowledge) relate to the issue of where to draw the boundary between normal and pathological manifestations of anxiety and of how to balance the medical view with everyday understandings of anxiety. At the interface between clinical and scientific approaches, the question arises whether scientific theories and models are adequate, more particularly, which aspects of the clinical picture can be explained by scientific theories and concepts. The third interface, between scientific concepts and the philosophical frameworks they presuppose, is the origin of debates about what belongs to science and what should be regarded as meta-theoretical or paradigmatic. To what extent does a particular scientific concept stand on its own and to what extent does it borrow from pre-theoretical and/or philosophical views?

Keywords: Anxiety, phobia, self-relatedness, levels of understanding, self-relatedness, clinical understanding, obsession, compulsion, panic, worry, irritability, restlessness, avoidance, doubt, death, meaninglessness, freedom, isolation, safety, separation, anthropological, existential, classification, validator, subjective feeling (of anxiety)

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