Philosophy and Working-through the Past: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Social Pathologies

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9780739182840: Philosophy and Working-through the Past: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Social Pathologies
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At certain moments in his political essays, Kant conceives of socio-historical emancipation as a process of working ourselves out of pathological legacies, suggesting that emancipation would involve a process of working through our affective attachments to entrenched, regressive social arrangements. Jackson shows how Freud’s analyses of melancholia, mania and the work of mourning can contribute to an understanding of key dimensions of such pathological social fixations, as well as the possibility of working through the past. This book argues that bringing Freud’s provocative analyses of loss to bear on particular philosophical treatments of history leads to a more coherent, psychoanalytically informed understanding of history. Although Freud does not himself integrate these themes into a theory of socio-political emancipation, his thinking nonetheless can be read as contributing to such a theory. To develop this idea the book draws on thinkers such as Karl Marx, Theodor Adorno, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Axel Honneth, and Judith Butler. The book engages students and scholars of contemporary continental philosophy by arguing for connections between psychoanalysis, philosophy, and critical theory.

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Jeffrey M. Jackson is associate professor of philosophy and interim chairperson in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Houston–Downtown.

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