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Sexuality and Psychoanalysis

Philosophical Criticisms

Jens De Vleminck, Eran Dorfman (eds)

Publication Year: 2010

The relationship between sexuality and psychoanalysis can be described in terms of an old and stormy love affair. The same can be said about the relationship between psychoanalysis and philosophy. It is precisely this fascinating ‘love triangle' that the present volume of essays aims to explore. A diverse group of philosophers and psychoanalysts reflected on the concept of sexuality in Freudo-Lacanian psychoanalysis. The result is a stimulating collection of essays where the role of sexuality in psychoanalysis is scrutinized from a philosophical point of view. This volume does more than merely offer an alternative psychoanalytic account of sexuality. It also develops a wide range of philosophical reflections on sexuality as conceptualized by Freudo-Lacanian psychoanalysis, and in this way initiates a dialogue between the two concurrent disciplines.

Published by: Leuven University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4

Table of Contents

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pp. 5-6

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Acknowledgements & Abbreviations

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pp. 7-8

The editors want to thank Saskia Bultman, Andreas De Block, Isabelle Demortier, Corry Shores, Philippe Van Haute, and Mieke Van Rensbergen ...

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Sexuality, Psychoanalysis, and Philosophy –An Introduction

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pp. 9-17

At the end of the nineteenth century, sexology emerged as a new sub-discipline within the biomedical sciences. The works of the first generation of sexologists, including Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Albert Moll, and Albert von Schrenck- Notzing, were a major source of inspiration for the “young” Sigmund Freud (Ellenberger, 1970; Sulloway, 1979). ...

Section I Sexuality and Metaphysics

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What is Frightening about Sexual Pleasure? –Introducing Lacan’s Jouissance into Freudian Psychoanalysisvia Plato and Aristotle

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pp. 21-33

We know that sexual pleasure is exciting. But Freud ascertains that, for some people, excitement does not add to the pleasure. In fact, they find the excitement of arousal so oppressive that they cannot enjoy sex. This is a curious finding. For how can sexual pleasure be rendered joyless by fear of excitement? Pleasure is something that has preoccupied Western philosophers ...

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Sextimacy – Freud, Mortality, and a Reconsideration of the Role of Sexuality in Psychoanalysis

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pp. 35-59

In many fields, often the most naïve and straightforward of questions pertaining to basic concepts is capable of causing a great deal of upset. Ask a roomful of theoretical physicists to agree upon a definition of so central an idea as “matter”, or confront philosophers with such topics as “knowledge”, “reality” or “truth”, and problems are bound to arise. ...

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Death, Libido, and Negative Ontology in the Theory of Drives

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pp. 61-81

“I have an ontology – why not? – just as everyone has one, naive or elaborated”. This is a sentence that cannot go unnoticed, especially being stated by a psychoanalyst. Both the fact that Jacques Lacan admits to having an ontology, as everyone apparently would, and the fact that he admits it in an absolutely natural way (“why not” have one?), pose many questions. For instance: why ...

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Love of Truth, True Love, and the Truth about Love

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pp. 83-95

“[O]nly those who have had the courage to work through Lacan’s anti-philosophy without faltering deserve to be called ‘contemporary philosophers’” (Badiou, 2006, p. 121). Here, Alain Badiou refers to Lacan as an anti-philosopher due to his radical interpretation of the notion of truth, the truth philosophers love. ...

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Derrida and Lacan – An Impossible Friendship?1

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pp. 97-118

In the world today, it is difficult not to begin with a concern about allegiances, friends and enemies, discursive camps and their borders, in short, with a concern about the regimes and territories of truth. And for this context, we are concerned above all with the territories of “psychoanalysis” and “philosophy”, as well as the chance, or better, the contingency (I underscore this word) of ...

Section II Sexuality in Practice

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The Sexual Animal and the Primal Scene

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pp. 121-137

Although Freud’s most famous and most notoriously difficult case history From the History of an Infantile Neurosis has received extensive commentary, there is one important question that has attracted surprisingly little attention up until now. In this case, best known by its evocative hybrid name Wolf Man, animals populate virtually every page, but very little has been said about the ...

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Between Disposition, Trauma, and History – How Oedipal was Dora?

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pp. 139-153

In contradistinction to what has often been said (Kris, 1986; Anzieu, 1988; Masson, 1992; Borch-Jacobsen & Shamdasani, 2006), the abandonment of the seduction theory by Freud in 1897 (“I don’t believe in my ‘neurotica’ anymore”) did not mean that, thenceforth, he thought that the traumas his patients told him about were nothing but oedipally motivated fantasies.1 Nor does it imply that trauma no longer played a significant role in Freud’s theory of pathogenesis. It merely means that Freud gave up his belief in the ...

Section III Sexuality and Politics

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Foucault versus Freud – On Sexuality and the Unconscious

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pp. 157-169

One of the main difficulties faced by Foucault’s readers is how to understand the practical implications of his descriptions. Are we all trapped in a web of power and forces that leave us helpless? Are we doomed to passively follow paths anonymously charted for us? Can we not actively resist? And if we can, how? ...

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The Psyche and the Social – Judith Butler’s Politicizing of Psychoanalytical Theory

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pp. 171-181

Since its inception, the theories and concepts of psychoanalysis have been used to analyze and clarify political phenomena and, conversely, political perspectives have been applied critically to psychoanalytical theories and practices. Feminism’s interest in psychoanalytical theory is part of this long history of reciprocal engagements between psychoanalysis and politics. ...

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Foucault, Lacan, and the Question of Technique

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pp. 183-196

As is well known, Michel Foucault was a stern critic of psychoanalysis. In the final chapter of La volonté de savoir, he situates the practice of psychoanalysis between the technologies of bio-power and the disciplining of the body that marked modernity. In Foucault’s writing, it was precisely the conjunction of these two phenomena that had such catastrophic consequences for the ...

Section IV Sexuality and Aesthetics

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Between Signifier and Jouissance – Lacan with Teresa

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pp. 199-214

“It’s like for Saint Teresa – you need but to go to Rome and see the statue by Bernini to immediately understand she’s coming [qu’elle jouit]. There’s no doubt about it” (Lacan, 1975, pp. 70/76).1 With these words, Jacques Lacan introduced Saint Teresa in Seminar XX: Encore, held on 20 February 1973. ...

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Painting as Hysteria – Deleuze on Bacon

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pp. 215-229

Great clinicians are artists. When the French psychiatrist Lasègue first isolated and defined exhibitionism in 1877, he did not begin his article with a description of cases of manifest exhibitionism, but, rather, with a story about a man who followed a woman in the streets each day. In order to introduce a new syndrome, it seems necessary to write a short story first and only then ...

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Epilogue – Sexuality and the Quarrel between Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

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pp. 231-236

... Why is it so? Although psychoanalysis was founded by Freud as a scientific and rational theory, its investigation has always focused on the irrational aspects of human life, whether their name was “the unconscious”, “sexuality”, “drives”, etc. This paradoxical meeting point of the rational and the irrational marks the difference between psychoanalysis and philosophy. And yet, if we ...

Notes on the Contributors

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pp. 237-239


E-ISBN-13: 9789461660381
Print-ISBN-13: 9789058678447

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Figures of the Unconscious / Figures de l'Inconscient