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Becoming a SubjectReflections in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis$
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Marcia Cavell

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199287086

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199287082.001.0001

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The Anxious Animal

The Anxious Animal

(p.27) 2 The Anxious Animal
Becoming a Subject

Marcia Cavell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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