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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter returns to the 1905 edition of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality to argue, against claims to the contrary, for the originality of Freud’s conception of the sexual drive (Sexualtrieb), in relation to his philosophical and psychiatric predecessors. After examining the claims that have been made concerning the relation between Schopenhauer and Freud on the question of sexuality, it lays out the conception of Geschlechtstrieb in Freud’s immediate psychiatric predecessors (particularly Krafft-Ebing and Moll) and its connection to the treatment of the same topic in Kant, Schopenhauer, and Hartmann. It then demonstrates how Freud’s conception of the sexual drive, which is divorced from any reproductive aim, is quite different to the earlier conceptions of the Geschlechtstrieb. The chapter ends by suggesting how Freud’s theory of sexuality can be understood as a contribution to a philosophical anthropology.

Keywords: Freud, Schopenhauer, sexuality, Geschlechtstrieb, Sexualtrieb, Kant, Hartmann

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