- Introduction: Know Thyself
- Intellectual Prehistory: Introduction
- Psychoanalytic Theory: A Historical Reconstruction
- From Recognition to Intersubjectivity: Hegel and Psychoanalysis
- Schopenhauer and Freud
- From <i>Geschlechtstrieb</i> to <i>Sexualtrieb</i>: the Originality of Freud’s Conception of Sexuality
- A Better Self: Freud and Nietzsche on the Nature and Value of Sublimation
- Twentieth-Century Engagements: Introduction
- Merleau-Ponty and Psychoanalysis
- Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis
- ‘In Psychoanalysis Nothing Is True but the Exaggerations’: Freud and the Frankfurt School
- Ricœur’s Freud
- Clinical Theory: Introduction
- Imagination and Reason, Method and Mourning in Freudian Psychoanalysis
- ‘A Ritual of Discourse’: Conceptualizing and Reonceptualizing the Analytic Relationship
- Symbolism, the Primary Process, and Dreams: Freud’s Contribution
- Integrating Unconscious Belief
- Making the Unconscious Conscious
- Phenomenology and Science: Introduction
- Complexities in the Evaluation of the Scientific Status of Psychoanalysis
- Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience
- How Should We Understand the Psychoanalytic Unconscious?
- A New Kind of Song: Psychoanalysis as Revelation
- Body Memory and the Unconscious
- Aesthetics: Introduction
- On Richard Wollheim’s Psychoanalytically Informed Philosophy of Art
- Literary Form and Mentalization
- Psychoanalysis and Film
- Religion: Introduction
- Psychoanalysis and Religion
- Psychoanalytic Thinking on Religious Truth and Conviction
- The No-Thing of God: Psychoanalysis of Religion After Lacan
- Ethics: Introduction
- Hiding From Love: The Repressed Insight in Freud’s Account of Morality
- Human Excellence and Psychic Health in Psychoanalysis
- Evolution, Childhood, and the Moral Self
- Politics and Society: Introduction
- Psychoanalysis, Politics, and Society: What Remains Radical in Psychoanalysis?
- Epistemic Anxiety
- Psychoanalysis in the Twenty-First Century: Does Gender Matter?
- Political Philosophy in Freud: War, Destruction, and the Critical Faculty
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter begins with a seeming rivalry between two answers to the question ‘what are the aims of psychoanalysis?’, which seem to situate psychoanalysis differently in relation to ideals of human excellence: ‘we are trying to make people good’; and ‘goodness is none of our business—we are just trying to make people healthy’. But are these alternatives? If, as Aristotle said, human excellence is psychic health, one aim cannot be achieved without the other. That still leaves a space between human excellence and ‘the moral virtues’, until it is shown that one cannot be excellent of our human kind without possessing the moral virtues—as modern philosophers assume, though as Nietzsche denied. Attempting to resist these various assimilations, this chapter aims to untangle the complex relations between psychic health as it is conceived in psychoanalysis, the possession of the ‘moral virtues’, and excellence of our human kind.
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford
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