Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Embodied MindCognitive Science and Human Experience$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262529365

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262529365.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 February 2021

The Cartesian Anxiety

The Cartesian Anxiety

Chapter:
(p.133) 7 The Cartesian Anxiety
Source:
The Embodied Mind
Author(s):

Francisco J. Varela

Evan Thompson

Eleanor Rosch

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262529365.003.0007

This chapter examines directly the feeling that arises when one senses that one can no longer trust the world as a fixed and stable reference point. The nervousness that one feels is rooted in “the Cartesian anxiety.” The anxiety is best put as a dilemma: either one has a fixed and stable foundation for knowledge, or one cannot escape some sort of darkness, chaos, and confusion. Ultimately, this feeling of anxiety arises from the craving for an absolute ground. When this craving cannot be satisfied, the only other possibility seems to be nihilism or anarchy. The search for a ground can take many forms, but given the basic logic of representationism, the tendency is to search either for an outer ground in the world or an inner ground in the mind. By treating mind and world as opposed subjective and objective poles, the Cartesian anxiety oscillates endlessly between the two in search of a ground.

Keywords:   Cartesian anxiety, absolute ground, nihilism, anarchy, mind, world

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.