2nd Prague conference
otto fenichel

Psychic change
Individual - Institutions - Society

20. - 22. 10. 2017

The world as it is / the world as I would like it to be: contemporary reflections on Freud’s Formulations on the two principles of mental functioning

Lecturer: David Bell Date of the lecture: 01. 08. 2017

In the Standard Edition, the editors inform us that Freud’s ‘Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning’ (1911b) amounts to a kind of stock-taking, namely that Freud is bringing findings from an earlier period into line with his current thinking and also laying the basis for the major theoretical works to come. But it would be hard indeed to think of a single work written by Freud that is more foundational to the kind of thinking that psychoanalysis represents, giving expression to a philosophical ‘Weltanshauung’ which foregrounds the far-reaching consequences for human affairs of our management of the distinction between the ‘world as we would like it to be’ and ‘ the world as it is’. In my presentation, I will start with an exploration of some themes of Freud’s paper as they are refracted through his developing theory and will then move on to bring them into relation with the work of Klein and Bion. Finally, I will discuss the relevance of this perspective on mental life to certain current debates within psychoanalysis and also to our understanding of some philosophical and sociocultural issues that characterise our current historical conjuncture.

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Česká psychoanalytická společnost


Ministerstvo kultury ČR

The conference is held under the auspices of Mr. Daniel Herman, Minister of Culture