File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0012, message 13


Subject: Re: HAB: Anyone for Habermas on Freud? <fwd> / F. van Gelder
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2000 10:43:49 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)


> Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 22:27:25 +0100 From: "F. van Gelder" 
<f_van_gelder-AT-hotmail.com>:

> 1) at the *methodological* level, the relationship of Critical Theory (CT) to 
Psychoanalysis (PA)

If I may... I'm not sure there is a relationship between Critical Theory and 
psychoanalysis! - at least not anything resembling Freudian psychoanalysis. 
Only a few theorists, that I've encountered, have written on Freud/Habermas: 

Jay Bernstein - Recovering Ethical Life
Slavoj Zizek - The Metastases of Enjoyment
Joel Whitebook - Perversion and Utopia
Thomas McCarthy - The Critical Social Theory of JH
Peter Dews - The Limits of Disenchantment
Gadamer - in the Habermas/Gadamer debate
Adolf Grunbaum - The Foundations of Psychoanalysis
Rainer Nagele - Reading after Freud
Christopher Nichols - an article "Science or Reflection"
Paul Ricoeur - scattered remarks, esp. on the Gadamer/Habermas debate
Tod Sloan - Damaged Life
Steven Vogel - Against Nature ...

(a rather long list of men I should add)

Further references would be highly highly appreciated! I have found J 
Bernstein, J Whitebook and R Nagele to be the most helpful. Thomas McCarthy's 
comments in his book are also important: Perhaps, McCarthy notes, "we have 
taken the model too literally, and there is no need to find a correlate for 
every feature of the psychoanalytic situation" (McCarthy 1978: 212). Which 
basically means that psychoanalysis retains only metaphorical employment. It is 
a figure and little more('take the episteme and run!').

Hypertext: I think that one way to get 'back' to psychoanalysis might be best 
explored through the work of Habermas and Judith Butler. Butler places 
sexuality/gender at the centre of most of her analyses (as does 
psychoanalysis). Habermas pretty much ignores the entire question of sexuation 
(as Nagele points out). Starting with sexuality and discourse might be a good 
idea (Barbara Fultner is the only theorist I've read who has thought about 
Habermas and Butler).

> 2) at the *theoretical* level, the relationship of
> Uebertragung/Gegenuebertragung (transference/ countertrans-
> ference) in contemporary PA versus the analysis of truth
> claims in speech act theory;

Yes! Transference is a crucial concept. There has been some talk about empathy 
in discourse but I'm in agreement with Benhabib and Arendt on this point: 
empathy invovles a dissolution of the self, it is exactly what a 'strong' 
critical theory must avoid relying on. The transferential relation, it seems to 
me, is far more important. McCarthy asks, however, what does transference in 
politics mean? This is an important question. He tends to sidestep it by simply 
saying that it is a problem. But I think it needs to be explored because, 
despite the problem - this is precisely what needs to be accounted for! So 
instead of ending with the question, "What does transference or 'working 
through' on a political level mean?" I'm tempted to say that this is *the* 
question for a psychoanalytically involved Critical Theory.

I've recently become quite interested in the idea of 'ideals' and 'seduction.' 
It seems to me that Habermas's CT has been 'seduced' by some of its operational 
ideals... (I'll spare a more technical and philosophical explanation here).


We should note a few things: first, as far as I can tell, Habermas hasn't 
changed his mind about his initial reading of Freud in KHI - in PDM he uses 
his reading of Freud against Foucault... almost without modification from his 
earlier argument against Gadamer (imagine that! - the same argument applies to 
both hermeneutics and post-structuralism). Second, Habermas doesn't seem to 
have changed his mind much about the non-linguistic foundations of the 
Unconscious. Although he does incorporate a kind of drive theory (which he 
argues must avoid false objectivism), he leaves no room for the coexistence of 
drive and desire and cognition (the figure of the Mobius strip is important 
here because it illustrates the entwinement) [ie. Habermas reduces the Uncs to 
language]. Third - wither Oedipus? Fourth - the idea of truth in psychoanalysis 
and critical theory is substantially different. In psy, it has to do with the 
'truth of desire' and less the validity of discursively formulated truth 
claims...

Errr... Obviously I have a lot to say about this...

ken



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