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The Trouble with PleasureDeleuze and Psychoanalysis$
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Aaron Schuster

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262528597

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262528597.001.0001

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Clinical Prospects for a Future Philosophy

Clinical Prospects for a Future Philosophy

(p.27) Introduction Clinical Prospects for a Future Philosophy
The Trouble with Pleasure

Aaron Schuster

The MIT Press

The problem of the relationship between Deleuze and Lacan raises more generally that of the relationship between philosophy and psychoanalysis. I develop this around the question of psychopathology: what can the study of psychopathology teach us about the human condition? Freud strongly criticizes the idea of normality, and develops a patho-analytic view on human existence, where pathologies are essentially exaggerations of universally shared crises and problems. The strongest expression of this idea is found in the theory of the death drive, which makes of life itself a disease. I explore the meaning of the death drive, first in relation to literature (Thomas Mann, Italo Svevo, Blaise Cendrars), then through an extended reading of Sade’s seeming radicalization of the death drive into the imperative for universal extinction. The problem of the death drive, and the negativity it stands for, is the key point of contention between Deleuze and Lacan, both of whom are committed to the project of a clinical anthropology. Instead of Deleuze as the philosopher of affirmation, creativity, and becoming versus Lacan’s emphasis on lack, castration, and loss, I argue that the difference between the two ultimately concerns different ways of conceiving negativity and the violence of the negative.

Keywords:   Philosophy of Psychopathology, Death Drive, Negativity, Fantasy, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze, Marquis de Sade

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