Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (2):325-352 (2002)

Freud's anthropology is in fact little more than an amplified psychiatry. For Freud, the human being is in essence a sick animal. In this paper the author discusses why Freud made this so-called 'anthropological turn'. First it is shown that Freud wanted his psychoanalytic theory to be a 'Philosophy of Man'. Secondly it is argued that this can only be the case if the determinants of pathology, that psychoanalysis claimed to have discovered, are constitutive of human subjectivity. This means that the defensemechanisms and the partial sexual instincts interact in each of us and do so necessarily. Although Freud usually merely postulates the necessary character of this interaction, which always produces symptoms, one can nevertheless find some argumentation for this relation distributed in his work. The third part of this paper consists in an enumeration and explanation of the reasons Freud gives for the fact that we can never satisfy our sexual instincts and always have to rely on the substitutes he calls symptoms. Some of these reasons can be led back to the conflict between sexuality and culture, but most of them are determined in an organic way. If this Freudian intuition is true, the 'Philosophy of Man' should be replaced by the 'Philosophy of Psychopathology'
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