The Anxious Animal

Marcia Cavell

in Becoming a Subject

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780199287086
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603921 | DOI:
 The Anxious Animal

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This chapter begins with a discussion of the philosophical and psychoanalytic accounts of anxiety. The changes in Freud’s thinking about anxiety are summarized, followed by a fuller discussion of signal anxiety. In his early work, Freud understood anxiety in terms of his energic model of the mind: anxiety is what happens to libido when it is repressed: first repression, then anxiety as the transformation of libido under repression. He announces a fundamental change in his paper, Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety: that repression does not cause anxiety; rather, anxiety causes repression. Actual anxiety is an automatic, inborn response to an external danger, like a battle or a train accident in my earlier examples; signal anxiety is a response that anticipates danger on the basis of past experience; it is learned.

Keywords: Freud; repression; psychoanalysis; actual anxiety; signal anxiety

Chapter.  6146 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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