Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger


Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger argues that mortality is a fundamental structuring element in human life. The ordinary view of life and death regards them as dichotomous and separate. This book explains why this view is unsatisfactory and presents a new model of the relationship between life and death that sees them as interlinked. Using Heidegger’s concept of being towards death and Freud’s notion of the death drive, it demonstrates the extensive influence death has on everyday life and gives an account of its structural and existential significance. By bringing the two perspectives together, this book presents a reading of death that establishes its significance for life, creates a meeting point for philosophical and psychoanalytical perspectives, and examines the problems and strengths of each. It then puts forth a unified view, based on the strengths of each position and overcoming the problems of each. Finally, it works out the ethical consequences of this view. This volume is of interest for philosophers, mental health practitioners and those working in the field of death studies.

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Havi Carel is a Lecturer in Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts at the Australian National University. Her research interests include 20th Century German and French philosophy (in particular phenomenology), philosophy of psychology and psychoanalysis (especially Freud) and metaphysics. She is the co-editor ofWhat Philosophy Is (London: Continuum, 2004) and the co-translator of The Order of Evils, by Adi Ophir (Zone Books: New York, 2005).
Jon Mills

Associate Editors:
Gerald J. Gargiulo
Keith Haartman
Ronald C. Naso

Editorial Advisory Board:
Howard Bacal, Alan Bass, John Beebe, Martin Bergmann, Christopher Bollas, Mark Bracher, Marcia Cavell, Nancy J. Chodorow, Walter A. Davis, Peter Dews, Muriel Dimen, Michael Eigen, Irene Fast, Bruce Fink, Peter Fonagy, Leo Goldberger, Oren Gozlan, James Grotstein, R.D. Hinshelwood, Otto F. Kernberg, Robert Langs, Joseph Lichtenberg, Nancy McWilliams, Jean Baker Miller, Thomas Ogden, Owen Renik, Joseph Reppen, William J. Richardson, Peter L. Rudnytsky, Martin A. Schulman, David Livingstone Smith, Donnel Stern, Frank Summers, M. Guy Thompson, Wilfried Ver Eecke, Robert S. Wallerstein, Brent Willock, Robert Maxwell Young
"This is a very well-conceived and well-executed book that stages a fascinating confrontation between Heidegger and Freud. Its greatest merit, in my view, is to show how Freud’s insights into death can be brought to bear on Heidegger’s existential analytic in a manner that significantly complicates the relation between authenticity and inauthenticity and culminates in a relation notion of finitude. It is a very impressive piece of work." – Simon Critchley, Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research
"Havi Carel’s Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger offers an impressively lucid study of the relationship between life and death, showing how the Freudian metaphysics of the death drive can be usefully supplemented by Heidegger’s phenomenological analysis of Dasein. Carel doesn’t just present persuasive critiques of Freudian and Heideggerian approaches to death and finitude; she also develops an original account, combining Freudian and Heideggerian insights, of what an ethics of finitude might look like. Her study thus succeeds admirably in bringing Freudian psychoanalysis and Heideggerian phenomenology into a welcome critical dialogue." – Robert Sinnerbrink, Macquarie University, Sydney
PART I: The Metaphysics of the Death Drive
One: Freud’s Drive Theory
Two: The Development of the Death Drive
Three: Collapse of the Dualistic View
PART II: Give to Each His Own Death
Four: Being towards Death
Five: Towards a Relational Understanding of Death
PART III: Encounters between Freud and Heidegger
Six: Death Structuring Existence
Seven: The Ethics of Death
Eight: Death of Another
Nine: Death and Moods
Ten: Death and the Unconscious
About the Author
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