The Economics of Libido: Psychic Bisexuality, the Superego, and the Centrality of the Oedipus Complex

Author(s) : Trevor C. Pederson

The Economics of Libido: Psychic Bisexuality, the Superego, and the Centrality of the Oedipus Complex

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : March 2015
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 208
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 35773
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782201779
  • ISBN 10 : 1782201777

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This book is an attempt to get beyond pluralism by embedding psychoanalysis in philosophy and returning to Freud qua psychologist to link the depths of the mind to its surface. Beginning with the proposition that egoism and altruism are a more accurate representation of the binary of activity and passivity, The Economics of Libido revisits Freud’s work to contextualize his central concepts and expand upon them.

Egoism and altruism are further divided into masculine and feminine drives which can exist in either sex due to psychic bisexuality. Trevor Pederson’s Freud places the Oedipus complex as the height of personal happiness in striving for passionate love or success while maturing through a series of educators and mentors. The subsequent father complex is snatched from obscurity as the recreation of the parental incest taboo amongst siblings. The ideal of commitment in relationships, fairness in one’s dealings with peers, and Freud’s emphasis on the non-universality of guilt are given their proper weight in his model. However, this reading of Freud’s work also demonstrates that earlier forms of the superego exist and are depersonalized to create different ontologies, or levels of Being.

In the tradition of Kant, what seem like relations too complex for a child to understand, the author contends, are references to the necessary subjective senses of Space, Time, the Superlative, and Prestige. Lastly, Pederson offers an explication of Wittgenstein’s private language argument to justify this return to drive theory and to appreciate Freud’s ‘Copernican Revolution’ of the mind.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘The superego has diminished in importance in psychoanalysis in recent years, and so it is a delight to encounter Trevor Pederson's close reading of Freud’s understanding of the concept, especially because he also grapples with its contemporary relevance. Pederson revisits a number of other related ideas, too, such as social ontology. Philosophically inclined psychoanalysts from all orientations will find much to enjoy in this new book.’
—Elliot Jurist, Professor of Psychology and Philosophy, The City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; editor of Psychoanalytic Psychology

'A dense, insightful exploration of the human condition filled with ideas that stimulate further thought. A surprising turn to Freud’s work on psychosexuality and what Pederson does with it! Rich arrays of philosophical, cultural, and psychoanalytic figures populate this work, each used as a lens on psychosocial realities. Pederson links conscience with post-oedipal development and develops a kind of dialectics between social ontology and psychic bisexuality. An uncommon perspective today that richly adds to the current pool.’
— Michael Eigen, PhD, author of Contact With the Depths and Faith

‘Contexualising Freud’s formulations of the Oedipus complex and psychic bisexuality within a set of references ranging from Kant and Wittgenstein to Star Wars and The Matrix, Trevor Pederson contests contemporary trends in psychoanalytic theory in this ambitious and provocative synthesis of ego psychology, philosophy, and psychoanalytic criticism.’
— Adele Tutter, Faculty at Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research

‘A clinician should know how his particular orientation relates to the larger human condition. As an 87-year-old psychiatrist, I thought I pretty well understood the relationship of my thinking with other thinking. Trevor Pederson’s scholarly book reveals far more extensive connections than I had previously known. He brilliantly connects Freudian-based theory with that of other schools – and with sociology and philosophy. I recommend this book to therapists who enjoy comparing and contrasting different perspectives.’
— Joel Markowitz, MD

‘In this compelling work, Trevor Pederson returns us to a proper appreciation of the basal insights of classical psychoanalysis that emphasise the primacy of the drives and their social constitution. Through deft philosophical analysis of character types and unconscious motivations that transpire within our equiprimordial relatedness to others, Pederson revitalises the rich complexity of Freudian theory in showing that the mind is inherently dialectical. In an age when drive theory is a drowning man, here we are reminded of the indispensable organic and social foundations that govern psychic reality.’
— Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP, philosopher, psychoanalyst, and psychologist; author of Underworlds: Philosophies of the Unconscious from Psychoanalysis to Metaphysics

About the Author(s)

Trevor Pederson is a mental health counselor and psychoanalyst in Casper, Wyoming. He is a doctoral candidate at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and his dissertation introduces a new model for the psychoanalytic interpretation of film.

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