Article ID: CBB001551405

The Illusion of Autonomy: Locating Humanism in Existential-Psychoanalytic Social Theory (2015)


This article assesses a realm of psychoanalytic social theory that is relatively under-discussed -- existential psychoanalysis -- in order to gain further insight into the relationship of psychoanalytic ideas to humanism. I offer a reading of certain influential thinkers in this tradition, namely Jean-Paul Sartre, Ludwig Binswanger and Medard Boss, presenting conceptual clarifications while highlighting a cluster of important aspects of their respective repertoires relevant to humanism. I do so with the intention of teasing out how contributing voices to existential psychoanalysis negotiate humanism's foundational ideas, specifically the notion of `the individual subject', with the bed-rocks of psychoanalytic thought, namely the unconscious. Finally, I conclude with critical commentary on the existential-psychoanalytic project drawn from what is often thought of as the anti-humanist tradition, with specific attention paid to Jacques Lacan and Michel Foucault.

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Authors & Contributors
Evans, Fred
Lawlor, Leonard
Krienen, Heinz-Peter
Sportelli, Silvano
Binswanger, Ludwig
Zimmerman, Andrew D.
History of the Human Sciences
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Science in Context
Medizinhistorisches Journal
Medicine Studies
Circumscribere: International Journal for the History of Science
Quintessenz Verlag
University of Chicago Press
State University of New York Press
Social sciences
Binswanger, Ludwig
Sartre, Jean-Paul
Husserl, Edmund
Heidegger, Martin
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice
Wundt, Wilhelm Max
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
21st century
17th century
20th century, late
Central Europe: Germany, Austria, Switzerland

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