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Destructive Passion: Freud’s Metapsychology of Hate in “Instincts and their Vicissitudes”

This contribution proposes that Freud, in “Instincts and their Vicissitudes” (1915c), develops a separate metapsychology of hate for the first time. Freud does not only distinguish hate from sadism and masochism, but also renounces his former opinion about hate as a transformation of love. We analyse Freud’s views on hate in line with his “The Disposition to Obsessional Neurosis” (1913i) and according to the matrix of obsessional neurosis. We also draw attention to the constitutive importance of the ego-development and the ego-instincts as put forward in “On Narcissism: An Introduction” (1914c). In this way Freud’s plea for an original hate is one of the rare locations in the Freudian corpus where there is room for an original, non-sexual aggressivity.

“Melancholy as a Narcissistic Neurosis in Kristeva’s Soleil Noir”

Julia Kristeva approaches melancholia starting from Freud’s basic intuitions but she places it within a conceptual framework that pays lip service to semiotics and Lacan. In that sense she argues that one of the most distinctive characteristics of the melancholic is that he or she cannot find the words for loss. Meanwhile, the lost object belongs as such entirely to the ego. This is caused by the unnameable Thing, according to Kristeva, which comes as a result of the trauma of the pre-symbolic confrontation with the mother-figure. Kristeva illustrates her proposition with an analysis of Holbein’s work The Dead Christ. The aspect of a dead past continues to haunt throughout several degrees of depression and melancholy. In this way her position closely lines up with Freud’s concept of narcissistic neurosis as Freud extended this concept to psychosis. As a consequence, Kristeva’s position leads to a paradox: on the one hand she claims that melancholia is a particular aspect of psychopathology, whilst on the other, she attempts to grasp melancholia in a transnosographic way.

Psychoanalysis and Philosophy of History: Frank Ankersmit and Eelco Runia on the Relation Between Past and Present

In this paper, the author discusses the relation between psychoanalysis and philosophy of history. He talks about the influence of psychology and psychoanalysis on Frank Ankersmit and Eelco Runia, two central figures in contemporary philosophy of history. According to Ankersmit, the notion of trauma plays a central part in the way in which we deal with our past. Ankersmit also uses patients suffering from de-realization as a guiding example to clarify his understanding of the relationship between reality, language, trauma and experience. Eelco Runia on the other hand refers to the use of the Lacanian concept of the “real”. In the way we deal with the past, this concept manifests itself in two different ways. The first involves the concept of the “presence of the past”, together with the psychoanalytically well-known concept of “parallel processing”. The second one concerns the notion of the sublime act as it manifests itself in certain kinds of historical events. Runia also links this to Daryl Bem’s self-perception theory.

From Vis Viva to Bewegungskraft [motion force]. Freud’s Concept of “Psychic Energy” historicized

As suggested by Ricoeur (1965) the exact sciences have often provided the language by means of which Freud articulated the psychic apparatus, although the articulation itself is irreducible to the physico-physiological level. It is well known that in Jenseits des Lustprinzips (1920g), Freud stressed the need to “borrow words from biological science” and to use them as a “metaphorical language” in the description of psychological phenomena. This paper investigates the way in which the specific physicalist semantics of one such borrowed word, namely the concept of “(psychic) energy” conditioned Freud’s metapsychological formalization of the psyche. The general framework for this study is constituted by the historical conflict of interpretations (and more specifically by the antinomy between mechanical-causal and teleological interpretation) in the understanding of man and world. Through a sketch of the Vis Viva debate between Leibniz and Descartes at the beginning of modernity, two conceptual schemes pertaining to the concept of energy (as Bewegungskraft on the one hand, and dynamic essence on the other) will be made explicit, and interpreted along the lines of the historical tension between quantitative-physical and quantitative-metaphysical explanations. Consequently, it is demonstrated how the final affirmation of energy as kinesis in the 20th century influenced Freud in his theorizing, and impeded the explicit articulation of the subject as an intentional structure.

Deleuze reads Sade and Sacher-Masoch

Many psychoanalysts argue that clinicians have a lot to learn from literature. They share the deep-rooted conviction that artists are sensitive to clinical phenomena and that they make visible what is often overlooked by clinicians. Freud, for example, relies on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Half a century later, the assumption of Freud’s literary clinic has been taken up by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze in his study Présentation de Sacher-Masoch. Deleuze reads Sade’s and Sacher-Masoch’s literary novels from the same perspective as Freud. Sade and Sacher-Masoch, Deleuze argues, are first of all great symptomatologists. Their novels explore the sadistic and masochistic universe thoroughly. In his essay, the author discusses Deleuze’s reading of Sade and Sacher-Masoch. Deleuze argues that his study, whilst sharing Freud’s basic assumptions, is a critique of his conception of sadism and masochism.