In May 2021, Ruth Rebecca Tietjen will be awarded the Dr. Leopold Lucas Junior Researcher Prize (20.000 €), a prize awarded by the Faculty of Protestant Theology of the University of Tübingen (DE) for outstanding dissertations in the fields of Philosophy, History, and Theology. Ruth’s thesis “Am Abgrund. Philosophische Theorie der Angst und Übung in philosophischer Freiheit” (Paderborn 2019: Mentis) is devoted to the phenomenon of anxiety. What is anxiety? And what does the fact that we experience specific forms of anxiety tell us about human existence?
Ruth’s discussion of these questions bridges the gap between contemporary analytic philosophy of emotion and existential philosophy. It not only integrates phenomena of existential anxiety into an analytic analysis but also makes use of different – analytic and existential – forms of presentation and reflects on the question of how content and form of philosophical presentation are entangled with each other.
In the first part, she introduces an analytic theory of fear and anxiety. In the second part, she explores phenomena of self-reflexive and mood-like anxiety, drawing on Kierkegaard’s “The Concept of Anxiety” and Heidegger’s “Being and Time.” This results in an analytic philosophy of anxiety that is enriched by existential phenomena. In the third part, she critically reflects on the question of whether something like “analytic existentialism” is possible. She argues that doing existential philosophy is not only a matter of content but also of form and defends her idea of philosophy as an exercise in freedom. Consequently, the book ends with an essay that is existential in both content and form of presentation; it starts with a picture and ends with a poem.