Translating Angst: Inhibitions and Symptoms in Anglo-American Psychoanalysis

Summary: In this brief essay I tackle the thorny issue of the translation of Freud’s texts into English. Specifically, why is it that Freud’s Angst was translated as anxiety in English, instead of anguish or even angst itself, terms which actually exist in English?  Or to ask a different question, what is the problem with anxiety as the English equivalent for Freud’s German Angst? I arg…

Fernando Castrillón
Discussion on “Translating Angst” by Fernando Castrillón

I would like to delve deeper into what Castrillon has written about different translations of the Freudian concept of Angst, by evoking my Italian experience. 1. When I meet Italian analysts whom I don’t know personally, I can grasp very quickly to which analytic “tribe” they belong just by listening to the words they use. Since WWII, most Italian analysts have been attracted only by tw…

Sergio Benvenuto
Notes on Sergio Benvenuto’s Addendum to “Translating Angst”

I would like to offer a few notes in response to Benvenuto’s welcome comments in his addendum to my article “Translating Angst: Inhibitions and Symptoms in Anglo-American Psychoanalysis”. I begin with Benvenuto’s sage observation that “by speaking their own membership’s vernacular insignia, many have taken the easy route for not thinking any more. Jargon substitutes thought”. I quite ag…

Fernando Castrillón
Interview with Axel Honneth

Inara Luisa Marin: You have shown a strong interest in psychoanalysis, especially after your book The Struggle for Recognition, where it takes the form of a discussion about the works of the American psychoanalyst Jessica Benjamin and those of D. H. Winnicott about object relations. Afterwards you have written various texts in which you engage in a discussion with psychoanalysis (with F…

Inara Luisa Marin
Laclau’s Intervention at the Conference “The Reasons of Populism”

“The Contribution of Psychoanalysis and Philosophy to the Theory of Political Conflicts Today” Chamber of Deputies (Montecitorio), Rome, October 25, 2013

Ernesto Laclau
On Female Obsessional Neurosis

What is the obsessional neurosis as such is not an easy question, because even the most characteristic symptom such as the ritual or the OCD, as it is called nowadays, belongs to the most different personalities.

Marc Strauss
Observations from Working with Female Obsessionals

This paper is based on observations and speculations derived from the clinical practice of two women psychoanalysts in the United States where they encounter a growing prevalence of female obsessionality. They investigate what might be different about obsessional features in men and women and how this might define differently the direction of the treatment. By way of Joan Riviere, who takes an obsessional woman as the example to develop her notion of womanliness as masquerade, they test how useful the notion of the phallus is in these cases, while problematizing the implied connection between Lacan’s concept of semblance and the clinical direction of the cure.

Patricia Gherovici & Jamieson Webster
Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis

  Image and Imagination in Wittgenstein and Freud Carlo Sini   The Speaking Lion Mladen Dolar   Freud’s Dangerous Pupil Hannes Nykänen   A Critique of the Meaningful Reason. Is Wittgenstein’s a Perspicuous Representation of Freud’s thought? Sergio Benvenuto   Philosophy as Therapy.   On some Analogies between Wittgenstein and Freud Davide Sparti   Touchy …

Hannes Nykänen (Editor)
Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis: Image and Imagination in Wittgenstein and Freud

Summary: In this text I shall develop a parallel reading of Wittgenstein’s picture theory (Tractatus logico-philosophicus) and Freud’s theory of the vesicle (Beyond the pleasure principle), trying to show the substantial analogies and the identical target of their trajectories, namely the idea that images are things and that signs are the matter out of which our “mind” (Wittgenstein) or…

Carlo Sini
Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis: The Speaking Lion

Philosophical Investigations are centrally concerned with what could be termed, in psychoanalytic theory, the status of the ‘big Other’, namely the status of rules, the necessity to assume them combined with the impossibility to provide them with sufficient foundation, the absence of any meta-rule to rule the rules of language games. The Other is both presupposed and lacking, rules are neither uniform nor univocal nor universal. The problem of private language raises the problem of something that would escape the rule, and the paper is concerned with the question whether it can be mapped on the problem of the Freudian unconscious. The psychoanalytic interpretation hinges precisely on establishing a rule where there doesn’t seem to be any. The assumption of psychoanalysis is that the unconscious is the speaking lion that can be understood, but this puts into question both the notion of understanding and the notion of the Other. The paper argues for a conception of the unconscious as the break of the rule that cannot be recuperated or integrated into the universe of meaning.

Mladen Dolar
Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis: Philosophy as Therapy On Some Analogies Between Wittgenstein and Freud

There are many ways of connecting Wittgenstein and Freud. The most obvious one being Wittgenstein’s remarks on Freud. In what follows I will take a less known path and focus on the methodological affinities between Wittgenstein’s philosophical practice and Freud’s psychoanalysis. And I will do so by relying on the so called therapeutic turn of Wittgenstein, articulated by Stanley Cavell as well as by Cora Diamond and James Conant. The central claim of this line of interpretation consists in finding Wittgenstein’s originality not so much in his philosophical arguments but – performatively – in the effects his philosophy is supposed to have on its readers. Philosophy is not seen as a constructive discipline that aims at accumulating and enlarging our acquired knowledge but as an activity whose success can be measured in the degree of transformation it allows its readers to achieve. Like in the case of psychoanalysis, for a change to be effective, it will have to be my change and not just the acceptance of an image someone imposes on me.

Davide Sparti
Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis: Freud’s Dangerous Pupil

In this paper I want to show in what sense Wittgenstein’s later philosophy is an ethics and in what senses ethical and philosophical problems involve repression. However, there is a reason why it is not so easy to see how ethics and repression enter Wittgenstein’s thinking. This is because what in my view gives Wittgenstein’s remarks their illuminating power is not directly stated by him; probably he did not think explicitly of it. I try to show that this source of clarity is something I call the I-you perspective. Throughout his later philosophy Wittgenstein refuses to argue for or against general, metaphysical claims. Instead, he invites his reader to abandon the perspective where the metaphysical dichotomies “force” themselves on us. One could say that his general strategy is to invite the reader to imagine what it would mean to utter the claims under consideration to a particular person; to a “you”. – The I-you perspective is central also to Freud even if he does not recognise this. Elaborating this perspective will show what the affinities between Freud and Wittgenstein are, in what sense ethics is fundamental in a non-metaphysical way, and why it is important to view philosophical and ethical problems as instances of repression.

Hannes Nykänen
Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis: A Critique of the Signifying Reason: Is Wittgenstein’s a Perspicuous Representation

A Discussion on Freud and Wittgenstein The author analyzes the philosophical relationships between Wittgenstein and Freud, trying to explain the reasons for the apparent ambivalence of the former towards the latter. In fact, Wittgenstein seems to be at once an admirer of Freud (he considered practising psychoanalysis himself as a psychiatrist) and a bitter critic of his scientific claims. The author explains these contradictions with Wittgenstein’s complex, essentially negative, attitude towards modern science. Hence his criticism of Freud as too much of a “scientist” on the one hand, and his appreciation of Freud’s endeavor to “unbind mental knots” on the other, a strength that he considered akin to his own philosophical project as illustrated in the Philosophische Untersuchungen. In fact, both Wittgenstein’s philosophy and psychoanalysis contain something the author calls a Critique of the Signifying Reason.

Sergio Benvenuto
Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis: Touchy Subjects: Wittgenstein’s ‘Freudianism’ and the Moral Dynamics of Repression

This article discusses the ‘Freudian’ dimension in Wittgenstein’s thinking, related to his insight into the fundamental role of repression in structuring our difficulties of understanding in everyday life and in theorising, individually andcollectively. I show the presence of the problematic of repression in Wittgenstein’s view of philosophising, and in his investigations of language. I also indicate how taking the moral-existential and relational character of repression seriously radically reframes the debate about the aim of, and the possibility of truth in, psychoanalysis, and how the trouble we repress basically has no fixed ‘content’ at all; rather, the ‘primal’ target of repression is the very openness between human beings.

Joel Backström
Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis: Back to the Future of Illusion Where Freud and Wittgenstein meet without knowing it

Apart from their apparent divergences or criticisms, Freud and Wittgenstein share at least one important point, which distinguishes them from most of the preceding philosophical tradition: they have put the role of illusion back on the philosophical agenda, which it had strangely been absent from for about 250 years. This rediscovery concerns not only people who desperately or childishly flock to an illusion like flies in a glass. It equally concerns people who are in the know, but still deal with a particular illusion, in their discourse or in their tacit practice. And finally, it concerns people who precisely by trying to be rational, fall back into illusion.

Robert Pfaller
Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis: Telling the Truth about Truth: The Philosopher’s Frame and the Analyst’s Speech

In this text, the author comments on Lacan’s statement about the impossibility of “telling the truth about the truth” (Seminar VII), together with Wittgenstein’s idea that we cannot see our eyes seeing (Tractatus logico-philosophicus), nor speak about the language we are speaking. This kind of Urverdrängung (repression) is what both Lacan and Wittgenstein recognize not only as the main obstacle, but also the focal experience, that their practices lead to explore. The author finally shows that the contents, as well as the theatrical structure, of Plato’s dialogues already expose and promote this same experience of incompleteness of the truth; he argues that Lacan’s clinical gesture and Wittgenstein’s idea of das Mystische fully belong to a speculative vein which accompanies and contests, from within and from the very beginning, the history of metaphysics.

Federico Leoni
European Journal of Psychoanalysis