Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Theory and Criticism


Antonio Calcagno


This thesis proposes to supplement the philosophy of Alain Badiou with an existentialist account of anxiety. After identifying a “phenomenological deficit” in Badiou’s thought, I argue that Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre provide the conceptual resources for theorizing the affective emergence of subjectivity from within the confines of a determinant situation. My contention, simply, is that anxiety is a rare and unsettling experience of nothing that makes apparent the underlying contingency of all situations, thereby prompting new modes of subjective behavior. In this sense, I treat anxiety as the in-situation experience of an event that may occasion the transition from a determined-individual to a determining-subject.