Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger

Author: Havi Carel
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 of What Philosophy Is (London: Continuum, 2004) and the co-translator of The Order of Evils, by Adi Ophir (Zone Books: New York, 2005).
"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
Foreword Acknowledgements Introduction 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 Conclusion About the Author Bibliography Index