Enlightenment History, Psychoanalysis and Modernity, The Use and Abuse of Reason, International Society for Intellectual History (ISIH) Conference, Renvall Institute, University of Helsinki, July 2004.

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Abstrakt

In this paper I investigate the relation between modern and postmodern notions of enlightenment. I suggest that the postmodern Enlightenment’s claim to diagnose an oppressive “symptom” of the Enlightenment is false. I use Freud's Totem and Taboo and Voltaire's La Philosophie de l’histoire to demonstrate this point. I suggets that Freud and Voltaire share the same notion of history as a transition from savagery to civilization. However, while Voltaire places savage displays on the outside of civilization, Freud grants them a constitutive place in the heart of modern man. IN that sense, Freud not only uses the basic historical narrative of the transition form tradition to modernity to back a universal theory of psychoanalysis but also uses psychoanalytical theory to prop up this basic historical narrative. What used to be constitutive of society on the “outside” as social practices has now become constitutive on the “inside,” which generates a reversal of terms: traditional, savage practices lie at the very heart of modern man who keeps repeating the “original act” and the historical narrative (killing the father) in his development. We could also say that with Freud, we get the interiorization of the irrational and the other that the postmodern Enlightenment has been so eager to point out. In that sense, I suggest, the post-modern critique of the Enlightenment is not so much a diagnose of the Enlightenment as innately oppressive as it is a reformulation of the modern principles which keep reconstituting themselves around distinctions between the rational and the irrational, between myth and Enlightenment, or between the modern and tradition.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Publikationsdato2004
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 2004
Udgivet eksterntJa

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