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.
In: Dying and Death

Freud’s death drive hypothesis postulates an inherent drive towards destructiveness and aggression. His theory of the death drive has been conceived by many as the height of Freud’s pessimism, as an admission that we are indeed born evil. But, as I argue below, this is not the only moral position that can be derived from the death drive hypothesis. Even if we accept (albeit in reconstructed form) Freud’s hypothesis that we are born with an inherent aggressive drive, the problem of innate aggression does not have to be viewed pessimistically. In this paper I develop a different notion of an ethics of finitude, and show how this view can arise from the death drive and the terminality of human life.

In: Territories of Evil