From Geschlechtstrieb to Sexualtrieb : the originality of Freud's conception of sexuality

Sandford, Stella (2018) From Geschlechtstrieb to Sexualtrieb : the originality of Freud's conception of sexuality. In: Gipps, Richard and Lacewing, Michael, (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis. Oxford, U.K. : Oxford University Press. (Oxford Handbooks) (In Press)

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This chapter examines the apparent proximity between Schopenhauer’s and Freud’s views on the nature and importance of what is called, amongst other things, ‘sexuality’, the ‘sexual impulse’, the ‘sexual instinct’ or ‘the ‘sexual drive’. It argues, against the idea that Freud's conception is basically borrowed from Schopenhauer, for the originality of Freud’s early theory of sexuality and suggest that the significance of this theory, apart from its obvious psychiatric and social import, lies in its possible contribution to a philosophical anthropology. The chapter returns to the first, 1905 edition of the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality to argue for the originality of Freud’s conception of the sexual drive (Sexualtrieb), in relation to both his philosophical and his psychiatric predecessors. It argues that Freud’s terminological shift in the Three Essays from the Geschlechtstrieb to the Sexualtrieb, both of which Strachey translates as ‘sexual instinct’ is evidence of a theoretical shift. Examining the notion of the Geschlechtstrieb in Freud’s predecessors and its relation to presumptions about the difference between the sexes (Geschlechter) allows the distinctiveness of Freud’s conception of the Sexualtrieb and thus his theory of sexuality to stand out. After examining the claims in the literature concerning the relation between Schopenhauer and Kant on the question of sexuality, it lays out the conception of the Geschlechtstrieb in Freud’s immediate psychiatric predecessors (particularly Krafft-Ebing and Moll) and (after a brief consideration of the multiple meanings of the word Geschlecht) its connection to the treatment of the same topic in Kant, Schopenhauer and Hartmann. It then demonstrates, with reference to Freud’s shift to the use of the term Sexualtrieb, how Freud develops a conception of the sexual drive and of sexuality that is quite different to the conception of the Geschlechtstrieb in Schopenhauer et al. The chapter ends by suggesting how Freud’s theory of sexuality is a contribution to a philosophical anthropology based on considerations quite foreign to his predecessors.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Freud, Schopenhauer, Kant, sexuality, Geschlechtstrieb, Krafft-Ebing, Moll
Research Area: Philosophy
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy
Depositing User: Stella Sandford
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2018 14:31
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 14:31

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