November 30, 2018 at 1 p.m.
Robertson Gymnasium 1000A
While Kierkegaard conceives of anxiety as the psychological presupposition of the dogma of original sin, and while Heidegger himself draws heavily on Kierkegaard in that he places anxiety at the center of his magnum opus Being and Time (1927), Heidegger nonetheless purposefully disregards the concept of sin (along with his indebtedness to Kierkegaard) throughout this work, restricting instead his analysis to guilt, that is, to the experience of sinfulness. This accords with the widely received line of interpretation according to which Heidegger appropriates Kierkegaard’s teachings by way of secularization. It has been largely overlooked, however, that Heidegger further secularizes his own concept of anxiety when in a crucial moment in the development of his thought, namely in his lecture course from the winter semester of 1929/30, entitled, “The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics,” he chooses to philosophize about boredom instead of anxiety, now disregarding no only sin but also guilt and fear, and thereby demonstrating, albeit without making this insight explicit, the guiltless and fearless nature of boredom, while at the same time revealing important aspects of boredom’s formal resemblance to anxiety.
Avraham Rot is a junior fellow at the Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies in Hamburg. He has a PhD in intellectual history from Johns Hopkins University, and has been a junior visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University and at the Freie Universität Berlin. He currently teaches philosophy and intellectual history at Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University.