David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Dissertation, University of Toronto (2004)
Many commentators have remarked upon the striking points of correspondence that can be found in the works of Freud and Nietzsche. However, this essay argues that on the subject of desire their work presents us with a radical choice: Freud or Nietzsche. I first argue that Freud’s theory of desire is grounded in the principle of inertia, a principle that is incompatible with his later theory of Eros and the life drive. Furthermore, the principle of inertia is not essentially distinct from his later theory of the death drive. Consequently, Freud’s theory of desire can only be interpreted consistently as a monism of the death drive. I then analyze Nietzsche’s attempt to ground his theory of desire in the concept of the will to power. I argue that Nietzsche’s view of desire is fundamentally opposed to the key elements of Freud’s theory of desire: the principle of constancy, the Freudian definition of the drive, and the pleasure principle. Next, I explicate the stakes of this opposition by analyzing the social consequences of each view for morality and justice. I argue that the Freudian subject seeks to dominate the social other, and that there is an insurmountable conflict between the satisfaction of desire and the demands of social life. Consequently, Freud’s view allows only for a negative conception of the social good in which morality is defined as the intrinsically impossible task of eliminating evil, and justice can be achieved only through the equal distribution of instinctual frustration. Finally, I argue that in Nietzsche’s theory of desire there is no essential conflict between individual desire and social life. The Nietzschean subject desires to manifest power in the form of activity that is independent of external agents, not to dominate the other. Consequently, Nietzsche’s view allows for the possibility of a positively defined concept of the social good in which morality is the affirmation and enhancement of every subject’s happiness, and justice can be achieved through the promotion and protection of an equality of power among subjects.
|Keywords||Nietzsche Freud Moral Psychology Social Philosophy Political Philosophy Ethics|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Sara Beardsworth (2007). From Nature in Love: The Problem of Subjectivity in Adorno and Freudian Psychoanalysis. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 40 (4):365-387.
Howard L. Kaye (2003). Was Freud a Medical Scientist or a Social Theorist? The Mysterious "Development of the Hero". Sociological Theory 21 (4):375-397.
Howard L. Kaye (1991). A False Convergence: Freud and the Hobbesian Problem of Order. Sociological Theory 9 (1):87-105.
Ken Gemes (2009). Freud and Nietzsche on Sublimation. Journal of Nietzsche Studies 38 (1):38-59.
Paul Katsafanas (2013). Nietzsche's Philosophical Psychology. In John Richardson & Ken Gemes (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche. Oxford 727-755.
Jerry S. Clegg (1974). Freud and the 'Homeric' Mind. Inquiry 17 (1-4):445 – 456.
Donovan Miyasaki (2010). Nietzsche Contra Freud on Bad Conscience. Nietzsche-Studien 39 (1):434-454.
Added to index2009-03-16
Total downloads337 ( #5,477 of 1,792,149 )
Recent downloads (6 months)52 ( #17,494 of 1,792,149 )
How can I increase my downloads?