On Structure and Function in Freud’s Metapsychology: an Historic Approach

This paper begins by outlining the debate at the beginning of the twentieth century between structuralist and functionalist psychology. We examine some of the consequences of emphasizing either the functional or the structural properties of the mental apparatus. The functional explanation finds its most extreme example in Watson’s behaviorism. Then we examine Freud’s notion of the mental apparatus. We find that in the metapsychology of 1915 Freud gives priority to a structural explanation of mental phenomena, while in the metapsychology of 1923 he constructs the mental apparatus as being divided into functional units.

Evolutionary Psychology and Psychoanalysis. On the Nature of the Unconscious

One way in which the dynamic unconscious is justified is by taking into account the evolution and development of the psychical apparatus. It could be argued that evolutionary psychology is the right way to approach this issue. We contend however that the focus on survival value leads to the overestimation of a functional approach being and to neglect of a the structural viewpoint. This has consequences for how the unconscious is defined. Whereas in Freudian metapsychology both stances (the structural and the functional) are present, the structural approach is absent in Smith’s view. As a consequence, the unconscious is reduced to one of its functions, i.e., self-deception. Furthermore, from the structural point of view, the relationship between repression (i.e., the mechanism that generates the dynamic unconscious) and self-deception is reduced to a loose analogy.

On the enchantment of angels, some remarks on love at first sight

This paper examines the temporal and spatial properties of enchanted discourse on love at first sight. The encounter with the object of desire is almost always presented as a sudden, unexpected event. Based on Barthes’ Fragments d’un discours amoureux, Slauerhoff’s De verzuimde liefde and Sollers’ Une curieuse solitude, it is argued that the encounter with the object of desire is a mise en-scène directed by the subject itself. The specific modality in which Lacan’s categories of the real (the object of desire) the imaginary (the image in which this object is presented to the subject) and the symbolic (the discourse that gives the image its consistency) are connected in this encounter are demonstrated.