CFP: Synthese

Submission deadline: December 31, 2020

Topic areas


Call for Papers: Synthese Topical Collection

Worry and Wellbeing: Understanding the Nature, Value, and Challenges of Anxiety

Paper Submission Deadline: 31 December 2020

Guest Editors:

Charlie Kurth (Western Michigan University) and Juliette Vazard (University of Geneva/Institut Jean Nicod)


Anxiety has long been studied by psychologists and psychiatrists both as an affective phenomenon and as a mental disorder. More recently, it has attracted the attention of analytic philosophers. Not only does this work shed light on the nature of anxiety, but it also suggests that anxiety is a valuable emotion—one that can contribute to epistemic success (Hookway, 1999; Nagel, 2010; Vazard, 2019), virtuous agency (Kurth, 2018), moral decision making (Lacewing, 2005; Kurth, 2015), and our sense of ourselves (Ratcliffe, 2008).

However, to date little work has been done to understand anxiety’s impact on wellbeing. Research on anxiety’s moral, aretaic, and epistemic value suggests it is an important element of the good life. But the prevalence of anxiety disorders and the deeply unpleasant feelings that accompany anxiety paint a very different picture: anxiety detracts from wellbeing and may actually be antithetical to it. Recognizing this raises important—but underexplored—questions regarding the nature of anxiety, its value, and the role that conceptual and empirical work might play in addressing these and related issues.ThisTopical Collection will be a forum for presenting new research on conceptual and methodological questions about the nature of anxiety, its value, and its relevance for wellbeing.

The issues to be addressed include(but are not limited to):

  • Individuating Negative Affect: Are there different kinds of anxiety and do they contribute to, or detract from, wellbeing in different ways? How do we distinguish between different, anxiety-like states? What is the difference between anxiety the emotion and anxiety the mood?
  • The Fittingness and Regulation of Anxiety: Can negative emotions like anxiety (stress, pain, suffering, etc.) be regulated or cultivated in ways that can promote wellbeing? What makes anxiety a fitting or appropriate emotional response? Would we be better off if we never experienced anxiety and the like?
  • The Benefits and Costs of Anxiety: How does anxiety (and related forms of affect like stress, worry, feelings of doubt, unease, suffering, etc.) contribute to wellbeing—be it for the better or the worse?
  • The Epistemic Value of Anxiety for Inquiry: How does anxiety shape inquiry? Might our capacity to feel anxious promote epistemic success? Does anxiety guide our epistemic activities in ways that promote wellbeing, or in ways that detract from it?

For further information, please contact the guest editors: and Paper submissiosn should be made through the Synthese website.

The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2020.

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