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(1996) The truthful and the good, Dordrecht, Springer.

The unconscious between representation and drive

Freud, Husserl, and Schopenhauer

Rudolf Bernet

pp. 81-95

I would like to talk about the Freudian unconscious as a phenomenon. This is not without risks and raises questions such as: is the event of the unconscious its manifestation, is the event a phenomenon? To speak of a phenomenon in connection with the unconscious, is this not to reduce its alterity? If a philosophical discourse on the phenomenon, a phenomenology therefore, wants to avoid the empiricism of a simple description of phenomena, it will always become, in one way or another, a transcendental discourse regulating the conditions of the appearing of that which nonetheless appears by itself. Does the event of the unconscious lend itself to such a phenomenology? In order to convince oneself that this is not a purely rhetorical question, it suffices to recall the reasons why Levinas has judged phenomenological discourse to be inadmissible when it is a matter of speaking about the coming to appearance of the alterity of the Other [autrui]. Beyond the question, which is a bit academic, of knowing whether phenomenology is in a position to think the event of the unconscious, a real question opens which leads us to wonder about the Levinasian opposition between phenomenon and traumatism, and about its capacity to delimit the ambiguous status of the manifestation of the unconscious. In the process, the notion of the event and its application to the unconscious will receive perhaps a more precise meaning, for, is not the event a phenomenon endowed with a distinctive striking force whose threat is usually averted by resorting to a symbolic elaboration?

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-009-1724-8_6

Full citation:

Bernet, R. (1996)., The unconscious between representation and drive: Freud, Husserl, and Schopenhauer, in J. Drummond & J. G. Hart (eds.), The truthful and the good, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 81-95.

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